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Opinion

Saucy chef calls Lehman licentious

Sangster: Lehman Brothers finds his
claims hard to swallow

Lehman Brothers found itself at the centre of embarrassing public revelations last month when a chef formerly employed by the bank challenged the terms of his dismissal and implied that loose morals were inherent to the firm's culture.

Lehman, which is one of the more straight-laced institutions in the City of London, sacked Bruce Sangster from his position as head chef at its Broadgate office in January 2002 on the grounds that he had been sending pornographic images over the firm's email system.

But during a three-day employment tribunal, Sangster, who lost his £14,000 bonus as well as his £57,000-a-year job, claimed that he had been treated unfairly.

He says chefs are a boisterous bunch who are more likely to find such emails funny than offensive, and in any case he didn't know it was a sackable offence.

Not so, says the bank, which points out that it has extensive and strict rules on the use of its technology and a zero-tolerance attitude to its misuse.

As a nine-year veteran of the firm, Sangster should have been aware of company policy, Lehman said.

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