She's the Latest City High-Flier to Sue Her Boss for Millions for Sex Discrimination - but Was Left Humiliated. So Why Is She Still So Defiant?

Daily Mail (London), July 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

She's the Latest City High-Flier to Sue Her Boss for Millions for Sex Discrimination - but Was Left Humiliated. So Why Is She Still So Defiant?


Byline: by Helen Weathers

SHE MAY be unemployed now, but Jordan Wimmer still likes to give the impression of being worth every penny of the [pounds sterling]500,000-plus a year she used to earn as a high-flying female City executive.

Her pale blonde bob is immaculate, her highnecked, pleated yellow silk blouse is demure, her earrings and make-up discreetly glamorous, and her skirt sits just below the knee.

'There is a very fine line between dressing attractively, but professionally,' she smiles prettily, carefully placing her cream, quilted Chanel handbag on the table, 'and dressing inappropriately.'

Especially, it seems, when wanting to be taken seriously by the financial world's Masters of the Universe while at the same time hoping to encourage wealthy individuals to part with millions of pounds in hedge fund investments.

And Jordan Wimmer is not backwards about coming forward regarding her abilities. 'My last bonus was [pounds sterling]477,000,' says the 30-year-old, 'but based on my sales performance, bringing in close to $650 m to a hedge fund, I asked for three or four times that because I felt I deserved it.

'Women often short sell themselves in the financial sector. Either they are too shy or are frightened of being seen as greedy, but I always did my research before I asked for a higher bonus. I went in armed with information having found out what colleagues in other companies were earning, so I knew my worth.'

By the age of 30, Jordan Wimmer had hoped that she'd be well on the way to becoming a managing director. Only in the past 18 months nothing has quite worked out the way she planned. For not only is Jordan Wimmer not working, but quite possibly faces the prospect of not finding another job within the male-dominated world of financial services. In this country, at least.

Two months ago, she lost her [pounds sterling]4 million claim for sex discrimination against her former boss Mark Lowe, 59, the Oxford-educated founder of Mayfair investment firm Nomos Capital, leaving her with a 'substantial' legal bill of, reportedly, [pounds sterling]100,000.

In a sensational case, Miss Wimmer alleged that Mark Lowe boasted of creating a team of 'Mark's Angels' hiring a blonde (her), a brunette, and an Oriental woman; his own take of the Hollywood film, Charlie's Angels.

Her case came on the back of an ever-growing number of women claiming telephone number-style sums for sexual discrimination in the City. So what kind of woman risks all to take on the financial industry in such a high-profile manner? Are they courageous or misguided? Ms Wimmer was certainly not backwards in coming forward with her allegations.

She claimed Mr Lowe humiliated her in front of important clients by referring to her as 'the decorative one', bombarded her with 'dumb blonde jokes', by email and deeply upset her by taking her to a lapdancing club, and viewing an escort agency website in front of her.

She claimed to the tribunal that all this 'belittlement' and 'demeaning behaviour', prompted a nervous breakdown in 2008, requiring a sixweek stay in a [pounds sterling]10,000 a week private clinic. Her pay was stopped to recoup the [pounds sterling]65,000 Mark Lowe claimed was a loan to cover the treatment.

Jordan, who claimed she was once told to 'work more and dress less', walked out in February 2009 -- shortly after returning to work -- after she claimed Mr Lowe's sympathy for her illness evaporated.

By her own description 'a fighter', she consulted lawyers and launched a claim for sex discrimination, disability discrimination, unfair constructive dismissal and unauthorised deduction from her wages. She tells me now she was '1,000 per cent' certain she was going to win and 'cried for days' when her lawyers informed her that she had lost. It was her mother, with whom Jordan was convalescing in Canada, who delivered the news with the words 'there is no way of sugar-coating this .

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