A finance broker sued colleagues for professional defamation and won millions of dollars in damages. The reputation-related case serves as a cautionary tale against workplace gossiping.
Meet Svetlana Lokhova: Finance Prodigy & Reputation Attack Victim
With a history degree in hand, Svetlana Lokhova – a Cambridge University grad – eschewed ruins for rubles and took a job with a big-money brokerage firm, Sberbank CIB.
Moving On Up The Corporate Ladder
Go-getter Lokhova quickly climbed the Sberbank rungs; in short order, she was, as they say, “making bank.” But Lokhova’s meteoric rise was not without turbulence. According to reports, she locked horns with colleagues over insider trading allegations, and eventually opted to alert authorities about the indiscretions.
In the whistleblowing wake, things at the office became untenable for the academic-turned-banker. According to Lokhova, colleagues attacked her reputation, mercilessly. Hecklers taunted: “Mad Svetlana” and “Miss Dodgy Septum” and “Crazy Miss Cokehead.” The Sberbank bullies even went so far as to label Lokhova a “chemically dependent…b*tch” and “major car crash.”
Workplace Gossip Becomes Brutal
Work became a living nightmare for Lokhova, and the office atmosphere had a “seriously detrimental effect on [her] health.” According to her, the situation also triggered “chronic and long-term symptoms” that drove her to “mental collapse”.
But instead of letting detractors get the better of her, Lokhova fought back with a legal action.
The Central London Employment Tribunal Weighs In On Lokhova’s Professional Defamation Case
Lokhova took her case to the Central London Employment Tribunal (CLET), an official body with authority to rule on certain workplace legal disputes. Preemptively, Lokhova took a drug test – and passed – to prove the addiction accusations false. After reviewing the facts, the CLET sided with Lokhova, awarding her a total of $2.3 million.
Though pleased with the decision, Lokhova lamented that she “could never return to financial services again” because “everybody knows everybody’s business in banking and people believe there is no smoke without fire. My reputation has been shredded.”
Admirably, instead of decrying the tribunal’s ruling, a Sberbank spokesperson vowed that the finance firm is “committed to take on board any lessons to be learned.”
Speak With A Professional Defamation Lawyer
A pioneer in the field of Internet defamation law, Kelly / Warner Law has successfully handled hundreds of reputation-related cases for finance professionals and firms. We pride ourselves on resolving challenges quickly – and in our clients’ favor.
Click here learn more about our trade libel and professional defamation legal practice. If you’re ready to speak with an attorney, contact us.
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