back to article Sacked saleswoman told to pay Intel £45k after losing discrim case

A former senior saleswoman at Intel who accused the firm of sex discrimination and wrongful dismissal has lost all of her claims and has been ordered to pay the company £45,000 (~$63,000) by the middle of this month. Watford Employment Tribunal, in Hertfordshire, England, dismissed all of Mary Guiney's claims and ordered her …

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  1. Solarflare

    On the last article about this, i said simply "she sounds like a complete nightmare". For some reason the post was deleted. I feel sort of vindicated now.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I feel you are vindicated as well

      It's always difficult to know exactly what happened in such cases. Maybe there actually was some sort of discrimination, but one thing feels certain : she's not being objective about it.

      So he didn't answer her emails. That in itself is not proof of discrimination. After reading this article, I have the distinct feeling that the bias is on her part, given that she barely recognizes attempts to be balanced and immediately follows by the base statement "but I know it isn't because of what I saw", but without bringing any facts to the table.

      In short, she may have been right to feel slighted, but acting like a harpy about it does not make her case.

      I think the judge was right on this.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

        In short, she may have been right to feel slighted, but acting like a harpy about it does not make her case.

        Are you suggesting that she has a chip on her shoulder?

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Natalie Gritpants

            Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

            Dreadful sexist attitude there but having worked in the Intel building in Swindon I can attest that walking from the engineering area on the third floor through the sales/mkt area to get a coffee is like entering another planet.

            1. AMBxx Silver badge

              Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

              I used to work for Vignette. There were lots of ex-Oracle salespeople there. Regardless of what you think of Oracle, they're extremely good at sales traing. Certainly, none of the women needing coaching or mentoring - they were already more than capable of doing what was needed.

              Playing the sexist card was doomed to failure.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Happy

                Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

                She's currently having her own personal Meltdown.

                1. AndrueC Silver badge
                  Joke

                  Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

                  She's currently having her own personal Meltdown.

                  And is now facing the Spectre of a large payout.

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

          Are you suggesting that she has a chip on her shoulder?

          Intel outside?

          1. Ol' Grumpy
            Thumb Up

            Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

            "Are you suggesting that she has a chip on her shoulder?"

            It was probably AMD ... :D

        3. David Nash Silver badge
          Joke

          Chip on her shoulder

          I am trying to work out whether that was supposed to be a pun or not!

        4. Flywheel Silver badge

          Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

          More likely her memory's not what it used to be...

      2. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

        So he didn't answer her emails. That in itself is not proof of discrimination.

        It's not, but having been discriminated against to the point of choosing to resign, I can well understand why her emails may have gone unanswered. My nightmare boss routinely ducked emails because she didn't want to leave a paper trail, and I couldn't prove whatever she said to me in a mtg room as her response.

        There's no paper trail that would show her trying to contructively dismiss me, but the team were in absolutely no doubt that was her game plan. A post employment DPA request was does somewhat back up my assertion, but its far from the smoking gun I would have needed. Rather than subject myself to the misery of HR followed by legal action, I took the easy route and found another job with a better employer. The rest of the team followed suit within 6 weeks.

        I regret letting her get away with it, but the damage it would have done to my career and employment prospects simply weren't worth the battle. In situations like this I always remember the advice my dad gave me on my first day at work - don't ever sue or steal from your employer unless you can guarantee to get so much money you never need to work again, because you'll probably never work again.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

          " and I couldn't prove whatever she said to me in a mtg room as her response."

          Which is why I always like to follow up a meeting with a summary of my notes of what was discussed. If they feel that I have misrepresented what they have said they can email a response etc. - but if they try and 'correct' me in another meeting then I simply follow that up with another summary email.

          In looking back at the email trail, that kind of behaviour screams avoidance for the purposes of not leaving a trail and should strengthen your case.

          1. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

            In looking back at the email trail, that kind of behaviour screams avoidance for the purposes of not leaving a trail and should strengthen your case.

            I too took the approach you suggest, leading to her disputing every point raised and trying to reword everything to have a negative tone where the meeting had none. Continuing to dispute every meeting may have shown disparity of views and a communication problem, but it wasn't nearly enough to be sure of winning at court.

            Meanwhile she was poisoning the well, for example querying HR to find out what she could do to stop me "disappearing and working from home for two hours every lunch". The best part is that I could not physically get from the office to my home and back in 2 hours using any currently available mode of transport absent a helicopter. The manager was so delusional that to this day I'm not sure if she genuinely believed what she'd said, or if she was just making trouble behind my back.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

              The manager was so delusional that to this day I'm not sure if she genuinely believed what she'd said, or if she was just making trouble behind my back.

              That's the point, it's not sexism some people are just megalomaniacs and or psychopaths. Only a voice recording would be of benefit not meeting notes. You know the writings on the wall when you're forcefully told to break the law and put people's lives in danger without hint of irony. Again, would any other employer trust you not to stand up for yourself if they had a rogue manager. Best to leave of your own accord to better things.

              1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

                Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

                "Only a voice recording would be of benefit not meeting notes."

                Completely the reverse. As pointed out above, a recording is a very grey area whereas contemporaneous notes are sacrosanct; the law has very different notions of proof than to us lay people.

        2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

          "I couldn't prove whatever she said to me in a mtg room as her response."

          If, as soon as you got back to your desk, you typed up what she said, noting the date and time, then that would count as papertrail. Unless the company could produce equivalent notes (e.g minutes of meetings), contradictory evidence or otherwise show you up as an unreliable witness, then you would have a strong case -- especially given emails going unanswered.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

          "I couldn't prove whatever she said to me in a mtg room as her response."

          Spycam pens are useful for this kind of thing.

          1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

            Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

            "Spycam pens are useful for this kind of thing."

            Be cautious with this approach, it's a legal grey zone. In some cases the judge will allow recordings made by an employee (or aggrieved party) only if they show clear evidence of discriminatory behavior, and in other cases they may consider it "dirty evidence" obtained by covert means and dismiss it. There's no hard and fast rules at this time.

            1. Uberior

              Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

              At a meeting with the internal audit team of my (former) FTSE100 employers I was frisked for recording devices at the start of the meeting. I had to leave my mobile outside and telephones were unplugged from wall sockets as was the videoconferencing unit and the room thoroughly searched including floor boxes, decorative vases and they looked above a number of suspended ceiling tiles.

              They didn't take a second look at the re-engineered "running man" emergency exit sign that a "contractor" had installed in the meeting room the previous day.

              Fortunately it clearly recorded everything from the bizarre or intimidating depending on your view searches at the start of the meeting, along with the thumping of the desk, raised voices and fist being waved at my face whilst the individual who was taking minutes was deliberately looking away...

          2. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: I feel you are vindicated as well

            "I couldn't prove whatever she said to me in a mtg room as her response."

            Spycam pens are useful for this kind of thing.

            They are, but if your relationship with your employer has broken down to that degree, isn't it better to choose another?

            I know several people who were consientious hard working and talented employees that have fallen prey to bad management along the way (I've been working for a long time and meet a lot of people). It is always a shame when it happens and its always avoidable - anonymous 360 reviews for all line managers would ensure bad management is called out early.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        There's a penalty for playing the 'sexist' card

        Let's face it: every time you hire a [insert 'identity' here] you run the risk that this employee, if ever fired, will turn it around and sue you, costing you time and legal fees at the very least.

        I applaud Intel for NOT "just caving" and "just paying her off".

        So, *FINALLY* it looks like there's a penalty for playing the 'identity' card like that, in this case the 'sexist' card, "*FEELING*" as if everyone else out there is a bleeding-heart SJW just waiting to PUNISH "the man" [in this case, literally so] for all of those past grievances that SOooo many others [read: straw men] *SUFFERED* due to discrimination in one form or another, and therefore concluding YOUR case now has "merit" because, emotional manipulation, excessive jury damage awards, yotta yotta.

        I hope this has a 'chilling effect' against frivolous discrimination lawsuits.

        the only 'winners' in these kinds of things are the l[aw]yers.

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Trollface

      RE: Solarflare

      Horrible sexist you. Women are always victims. Feminists taught me that

    3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      For some reason the post was deleted

      Maybe it was because the case was sub-judice so under UK law (Which El Reg is subject to) it would have been prejudicial. Failing to remove the comment could have landed El Reg is hot water.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well at least now we can push that point.......

        she sounds like a complete nightmare

    4. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      More to the point

      She's another example of a fool representing themselves. She should have talked to a lawyer to see if she had a case, and if she did, she should have hired a lawyer to represent her.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Money here

      Would you care to elaborate, or are you happy just to induce some kind of fear response based on ominous tones?

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Money here

        dum dum dum! I thought I'd provide the sound track.

      2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: Money here

        "I'd suggest commentators here be VERY careful on what they say"

        I'm not going to incite anyone to crime of any kind, I am not going to speak in support of a known illegal terrorist organization, I am not going to engage in hate-speech intended to inflame public disorder. I am not going to throw slander around.

        In short, I am not going to commit a crime, and I will avoid being sued for slander on a civil basis.

        Beyond that, I'll say whatever the fuck I like. When I like. Where I like.

        Fuck you and your "ooh. be careful with your thought-crime, citizen." and the horse it rode in on.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Money here

          You just committed a crime though. I found your language offensive, tough luck. Next time check what is on the legislative books.

          1. Agamemnon

            Re: Money here

            1. First Amendment. Don't like my language? Fuck you, and the horse you rode in on.

            2. To shoot down my own argument; I'm from California and can sue you because your tie causes me emotional distress (it really is hideous, really).

          2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

            Re: Money here

            " I found your language offensive, tough luck"

            It's not (yet) a crime to say something that offends someone, unless you are inciting a crime of some kind. Of course, there are many people who either believe that, when they are offended, they are the victims of a crime or that causing offence should be a crime. But they are stupid people who'd silence the world.

            Here's the legislation. Note that the word "insulting" has recently been removed from the bill by amendment in the House of Lords.

            http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN05760/SN05760.pdf

            If language is, specifically, "Threatening or Abusive" you can be charged, but the word "offensive" is not included, nor is there any provision for people "feeling offended". You can find my language offensive all you want, but provided I don't threaten or abuse you with my language you have no recourse to the law.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Money here

          "if you’re going to criticise, be explicitly clear about the core facts and be as balanced as possible"

          Yeah, THAT will happen... *NOT*

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Money here

      >I'd suggest commentators here be VERY careful on what they say.

      Mr J Smith of 36 Otterton road, Iceland has piles.

      Go on, sue me Mr J Smith.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Money here

        > Mr J Smith of 36 Otterton road, Iceland has piles. Go on, sue me Mr J Smith.

        But there aren't any roads in Iceland.

        Oh no hang on that's Greenland. Never mind.

        There won't be a lot of Smiths in Iceland though.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Money here

          There are, but neither live on Otterton Road.

    3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Money here

      Is that you Mary?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Money here

      Roger that, I'll type it instead.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Money here

      Since when was our freedom of thought and expression granted by Magna Carta removed from us? How dare you threaten us! Oh, wait a minute, I forgot The Maybot was Home Secretary for 5 years....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It was clearly about money yet she felt it necessary to play the discrimination card hoping it would help her case. When will people learn? I suspect if she had just gone down the lost commission route she may have won because removing commission after the fact because you change your mind on the persons role in the sale is tricky to explain away.

  4. 0laf Silver badge
    Meh

    It seems odd that she chose to represent herself in a case that could go against her. Was she overconfident, a bit greedy or would no one take on the case.

    None of us can know the real background to the case. Emails are evidence but they won't be the whole story.

    1. Velv Silver badge
      Boffin

      "...or would no one take on the case."

      Even in the less litigious UK it's rare to find a case someone won't take on as a "no win no fee" case.

      And the one thing I've learned reading about numerous court cases is that you never want to represent yourself (possibly even if you are already a member of the bar).

      1. MJB7

        Representing yourself

        There is an old legal saying "A lawyer who is representing himself, has a fool for a client".

        Having said that, there's no reason not to represent yourself for claims on the Small Claims Track. (But this is clearly not such a case.)

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Re: Representing yourself

          Representing yourself and then trying to trade legal terms with a judge is bound to get you in trouble.

          If 100k was really at stake she could have got a decent employment lawyer.

          Never go up against a big corporation unless you have a v good case - they can afford to burn 10 times the money on defending a case out of principle regardless of the rights or wrongs. Their legal budget will be bigger than any but the biggest law firm, your case wont even be a blip on their budget line.

          1. Edwin

            Re: Representing yourself

            Most companies would much rather settle than go to court. Court is public, and there's always the risk of precedent being set.

            For Intel to take this to court suggests they knew up front they'd win, or perhaps she *really * pissed them off.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Representing yourself

              The fact that costs were awarded against her strongly suggests that Intel made a reasonable offer to settle out of court, but she refused it. That's how you get costs awarded against you in England. Contrary to what you'll read on the Internet, the system isn't "loser pays"; it's "party who refused a fair offer pays".

              1. jabuzz

                Re: Representing yourself

                As a defendant to get costs in an Employment tribunal is exceedingly rare. You basically have to bring a baseless case and refuse any settlement offers. However the headline figure is misleading as the costs are only £20k, the rest is repayment of overpaid commission. Further Intel wanted £32k repaid in commission so she is actually only down £13k.

                Normally employment tribunal's bend over backwards to be "friendly" to self representing claimants. Finally employment tribunals follow a single set of "procedures" across the UK so it would be basically the same in Scotland regards awarding costs. Well apart from wacky language like calling exhibits productions and some terrible rules on disclosure it's all the same. If you can always bring an employment tribunal case in England or Wales, where the defense has to produce all documents relevant to the case even if they are predjudical to their case. In Scotland they only have to turn over documents you ask for, so obviously you can't ask for documents that you don't know about but might help your case.

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