London CIBC Bankers Kept A Book Full Of "Sexually Suggestive Comments" About Women

London CIBC Bankers Kept A Book Full Of "Sexually Suggestive Comments" About Women

Bankers at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s London office made their way into the news this week for purportedly keeping a book full of “sexually suggestive comments” about women for a decade, according to Bloomberg.

Zhuofang Wei, an executive director, who had lost a sexual discrimination case against the bank, brought the book to light during her employee tribunal. The comments in the book were "read out at the annual Christmas party" and "full of innuendos", she claimed. 

Banking culture in London has undergone a major shift over the last few years - first, years ago, with on-the-job drinking finding itself in the crosshairs and now, more recently, with male dominated and sexually offensive culture against women coming under fire. 

This type of "banter" from workplaces is now being used in employee tribunals more often, the Bloomberg report says. Judge Holly Stout said in a ruling last week: “The quote book, and the celebration of it every year at the Christmas party, fostered a culture in which the making of sexually suggestive comments about women was regarded as normal and acceptable."

However, she also ruled that Wei was an "willing and active participant" in the book and said her claims of feeling uncomfortable at the time were unfounded. 

Wei concluded: “I am very disappointed the employment tribunal reached the conclusion that they had. I wanted to be able to tell my story because in my career I have known so many women who suffered unfair treatment but were not as privileged as I am to be able to bring their claim before an employment tribunal.”

The team member who put together the idea of the book agreed during hearings it was "demeaning" and could be misconstrued. The book met its fate after the switch to at-home work as a result of the pandemic, and hasn't been seen since. 

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