Minister’s daughter claims HSBC discrimination cost her promotion

George Vella’s daughter has filed court proceedings against HSBC, claiming that she was discriminated against because of her father’s political role.


The daughter of Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella’s daughter has filed court proceedings against her employer, HSBC Bank (Malta) Plc, claiming that she had suffered discrimination after she was prevented from participating in the selection process for a promotion due to the fact that she is a PEP, a politically exposed person.

In an application for an injunction against the bank filed this morning, Elaine Scicluna claimed that she had applied for the vacancy of SCC Relationship Manager in July this year, having previously been assured that her father’s political role was not going to be an obstacle to her application.

She had worked with the bank for 27 years in the post of Senior Insurance Account Servicing Officer.

After being shortlisted and attending an interview on 11 August, she was informed that she had performed very well and was one of the leading candidates for the role. Two weeks later, on 30 August, however, she had been sent an email, informing her that the Retail Banking and Wealth Management selection team had been subjected to review, and that any recruitment had been suspended “until things became clearer.”

But on 9 November, the bank had issued a call for applications that had been identical to the one Scicluna had applied for, bar an additional condition stating that “given the nature of role responsibilities, employees who are PEPs (including family members or close associates of PEPs) are not eligible to apply.”

Scicluna had applied nonetheless, only for her application to be declined because of the new condition. A judicial letter was sent to the bank, in order to halt the selection process, but this was ignored, she said.

In the application for an injunction to stop the selection, which was filed this morning by lawyer Ian Spiteri Bailey, Scicluna alleged that the bank’s explanation that it was restructuring its current operating model was “just a fairytale and an excuse intended simply as a smokescreen for the change in the rules of the game, intended to exclude the plaintiff from the selection process.”

There were, or had been in the past, MPs who were employed with Maltese banks and that other PEPs were working in the local banking sector, she argued. It is unacceptable that the bank treat the plaintiff in this manner.”

The application called on the court to provisionally grant the injunction until a final decision on the issue was delivered.

Lawyers Ian Spiteri Bailey and Victoria Cuschieri signed the application.

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