£11 million claim over 'mini Hitler' boss

May 12 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Further evidence has arrived – if any is needed – of the damage that organisations can inflict on themselves by failing to root out the bad apples from their senior management teams.

Financial giant HBOS is being sued for £11 million ($19 million) by one of its most senor female employees after she claimed she was sacked for complaining about the bullying behaviour of her boss.

Claire Bright, who earned more than £600,000 as head of the financial group's asset and liability management alleged that she was discriminated against and victimized by her boss, Cliff Pattenden who, her claim states, "could not manage a successful woman".

Pattenden was regarded by staff as a "mini-Hitler", the claim adds. "From the start of her employment, she was disrespected, demeaned, overruled, micro-managed and humiliated by Mr Pattenden."

After making an internal complaint about Pattenden, Bright was suspended for three months in October last year. When she tried to return to work, she was sacked.

While HBOS says Bright's allegations are "unfounded", an independent report by consultants Morgan Alexander is believed to have suggested that HBOS "should consider sending Cliff to charm school", adding that he was "really difficult to work with".