Macquarie Executive Seeks Return to Work During Harassment Suit

(Bloomberg) -- A lawyer for a Macquarie Group Ltd. executive told a New York judge he’d seek a court order forcing the Australian bank to let his client return from paid leave while her sexual harassment suit against the bank and her former boss progresses.

Khristina McLaughlin, head of U.S. sales for cash equities, claims she was forced out of Macquarie’s Manhattan office on April 19 because she wouldn’t "play ball" during settlement talks that fizzled. Now McLaughlin is being forced to "sit at her home being ostracized" despite her "exemplary" work, her attorney Jonathan Sack said at a hearing Friday in Manhattan federal court.

McLaughlin sued Sydney-based Macquarie and her ex-boss Robert Ansell in November, saying Ansell forced her into a relationship from 2015 to 2017. She’s seeking $40 million, saying the situation made her job impossible. Ansell, who denies wrongdoing, left the bank before the suit was filed.

Macquarie’s lawyer Lloyd Blades Chinn said McLaughlin despises her job and should remain on leave. He rejected as "speculative and hypothetical" McLaughlin’s claim that her leave will have a chilling effect on women. Chinn said the bank has a "mountain" of evidence that the relationship was consensual and argued the case belongs in arbitration.

Sack countered that McLaughlin was being "vilified." Citing the Me Too movement, he said women shouldn’t be forced to stay at home "simply because a male supervisor continued to push and push."

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