• Banker blames UBS for sidelining him, making him leave
  • Swiss bank says Bertrand Tissier quit to take new position

A former UBS Group AG equities salesman who left in December 2013 and got a new job the following month, says he was wrongfully dismissed and is asking for more than $1 million at the Paris employment tribunal.

Bertrand Tissier, who worked at UBS Securities France SA for over three years, says his employer sidelined him for no apparent reason months before he left. UBS denies the allegations and says Tissier left for another job that he had begun interviewing for as early as August, according to the Swiss bank’s lawyer, Jean-Michel Segeron.

Bankers routinely turn to specialist labor courts throughout Europe in a bid to recoup lost bonuses and rehabilitate tarnished reputations. Earlier this month, Jerome Kerviel, who was convicted of causing a record trading loss of 4.9 billion euros ($5.5 billion) at Societe Generale SA, told a Paris employment tribunal he was suing the French bank for even more claiming he was unfairly dismissed in 2008.

Meetings with his clients such as AXA SA were organized without his knowledge, Tissier said, and he was inexplicably demoted to salesman two months after having risen to the rank of sales account manager, his lawyer, Ivan Hecht, said.

“That’s tantamount to getting fired,” Hecht told the Paris court.

Under those circumstances, Tissier was forced to terminate the employment contract, yet the responsibility for his departure falls squarely on the shoulders of UBS, Hecht said.

The bank’s attorney said Tissier asked to discuss the terms of a mutually agreed termination in order to leave with a package, Segeron told the court. Tissier denies that he tried to negotiate a severance payment.

“After the bank refused, he went on sick leave in November 2013,” Segeron said. “He left UBS voluntarily.”

Segeron said that Tissier had “strategically set out to build a case” in his last few months on the job that would make it appear UBS was to blame for his departure. He asked, for example, to take part in a major London conference 48 hours ahead of time and without having invited any clients, knowing that it wouldn’t be possible, Segeron said.

Rather than sidelining him, his supervisors were trying to motivate and manage Tissier, who had started brooding and withholding information, Segeron said, adding that his enthusiasm had dropped because he wasn’t satisfied with his pay in early 2013.

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