An employee at an exclusive Knightsbridge bank is suing for more than £1.5m, claiming she suffered crippling back injuries while putting pamphlets in a cupboard.

Shilpa Pattani, 32, of Larken Drive, Bushey, says she was left in "unbearable pain" after moving promotional brochures that had been "dumped" on and around her desk, while working at international private bank ICICI.

She is asking High Court judge, Mr Justice Phillips, to order her ex-employers to pay damages in excess of £1.5m, including £1m in lost earnings.

Miss Pattani, who worked in marketing at ICICI from 2007 until 2009, claims she was sometimes shifting twice her own bodyweight of "promotional material" from her desk and the area around it, into a "cramped marketing cupboard".

Her legal team says her back problems forced her to quit in June 2009.

The bank is contesting the case, insisting any lifting she did and any stress that may have worsened her problems amounted to "normal office activities".

In the witness box Miss Pattani said she weighed less than nine stone when she worked at the bank but was expected to regularly shift more than 100kg of promotional material.

She said: "I was sick of the lifting. I was asked to put things into the marketing cupboard at different heights. I sent an email saying 'stop dumping things around my desk, on my desk and on the floor round my desk, because it's hurting my back'."

The bank accepts that Miss Pattani has developed fibromyalgia, a condition characterised by hypersensitivity and chronic pain. 

But William Vandyck, the bank's barrister, said: "Miss Pattani was in marketing. The stress is what one might expect from that kind of job.

"It is the person that finds the situation stressful rather than the job. Her stress arose out of normal office activities."

The barrister said a car accident involving Miss Pattani in 2002 was a potential source of her problems and that the stress she was under came from looking after her sick father and from the death of her grandmother.

However Dr Daniel Fishman backed Miss Pattani's claim that working at the bank made her ill, and said: "A normal office can be a very stressful environment."

He supported her claim that her back troubles "triggered" her chronic condition and could be traced to the lifting she did at work.

The hearing continues.