A gay banker who claims he was sacked because of his sexual orientation has had his appeal rejected at an employment appeals tribunal.

Peter Lewis, who earned in the region of £1 million a year at HSBC, was seeking £5 million in damages from the bank in what was seen as one of the biggest gay discrimination cases in the UK.

Mr Lewis was given permission to appeal the ruling in October, but his claims were rejected by the Employment Appeal Tribunal this morning.

The employment tribunal upheld the ruling that Mr Lewis had “received less favourable treatment on the grounds of sexual orientation” during the bank’s internal investigation into allegations of personal misconduct, but it judged that the bank had not dismissed Mr Lewis because of his sexual orientation.

The tribunal heard that HSBC sacked Mr Lewis after he was accused of masturbating in front of a male employee in the work gym shower.