Tribunal to hear claim of prejudice at Starling

Former employee of Starling files discrimination claim against fast-growing bank

A former employee of Starling Bank has filed a discrimination claim that will be heard in court this week.

Gulnaz Raja, who was the bank’s deputy company secretary until last year, has also accused the start-up of trying to ‘intimidate her into not bringing her claim’, according to Employment Tribunal documents.

Starling is one of the UK’s fast-growing banks, founded by Welsh banker Anne Boden in 2014. It is backed by Harald McPike, a mysterious Bahamas-based billionaire. UK-based investors include Jupiter Asset Management.

Discrimination claim: Gulnaz Raja was the bank’s deputy company secretary until last year

Boden has championed diversity as one of the few women in Britain to run a bank alongside NatWest’s Alison Rose and TSB’s Debbie Crosbie. She has said in the past that women make better bankers because they are ‘not arrogant’.

Raja has lodged a ‘complaint of victimisation’, while Starling’s defence is that Raja was going to be dismissed because her performance ‘was not good enough’, according to the preliminary hearing.

Starling was one of the banks accredited last year to hand out taxpayer-backed cash under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, giving small businesses up to £50,000 each. It also won taxpayer money totalling £100 million based on its growth plans aimed at giving firms more choice in banking.

Raja and Starling declined to comment.