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Lawyer accused of lying in pounds 19m discrimination tribunal case.

A City lawyer who is claiming pounds 19 million in damages after a tribunal ruled she had suffered sex discrimination and harassment at work has been accused of failing to tell the hearing the whole truth, documents revealed.

Atribunal yesterday looked into Gill Switalski's separate claim that she was forced out of her job at F&C Asset Management but, as it opened on Monday, the company submitted a document asking for the earlier rulings to be reassessed due to new evidence.

In the documents, its lawyers claimed that Ms Switalski had applied for other jobs and accepted an offer from Royal London in November 2006.

She had attended the interview while on sick leave, its submission states.

Ms Switalski had told the earlier tribunal she had been unable to work after leaving her pounds 140,000 job at F&C in September 2007.

In its submission, the firm said the job offer and Ms Switalski's acceptance "fundamentally undermines the claimant's case as to her credibility and, in particular, the tribunal's finding that she was disabled".

It added that "the new evidence makes it clear that Ms Switalski did not tell the truth, or (at its lowest) that she was prepared to mislead her employers and the tribunal by concealing highly material evidence, and to exaggerate her medical condition in order to obtain a favourable result.

"It suggests that she is a plausible liar."

It said Royal London offered Ms Switalski a position as legal director and company secretary in November 2006.

Two months later, its human resources director, John Hume, said in an email to colleagues that she had decided to withdraw her candidacy, having been "diagnosed with breast cancer and a very poor prognosis". F&C Asset Management's application added: "This is contrary to Ms Switalski's medical records for this period which have been disclosed.

"She was not diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2007. Indeed, she appears to have been informed on 8 December 2006 that there were no signs of breast cancer."

Ms Switalski's lawyers responded to the application by arguing in writing that a review "should not be entertained because it is clear from the papers that the Royal London evidence could have been obtained at the time".

The document submitted by them to the hearing said: "The failure to ascertain this information in the original hearing is the product of a lack of rigour."

It said she had admitted during cross-examination that she had sought the help of legal head-hunters in July 2006 and told a medical specialist who reported to the tribunal that she had turned down other jobs.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 18, 2008
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