JPMorgan Wins Appeals Ruling in FX Salesman's Dismissal Case

  • Judge overturns Patrice Ktorza’s 2016 unfair dismissal suit
  • Tribunal sends dispute back to lower court for rehearing

A JPMorgan Chase & Co. won a ruling overturning a 2016 employment tribunal decision that found a former currency salesman was improperly fired in the wake of the foreign-exchange manipulation scandal.

Patrice Ktorza, a former executive director at the U.S. bank, must have his unfair dismissal suit reheard at an employment tribunal. The original judge to a "significant extent started from his own findings of fact and opinions," whereas he should’ve looked at the bank’s reasons for dismissal and decided whether they were reasonable, an appeals judge said.

Ktorza was suspended in November 2014 for partially filling a trade, a practice the bank stopped salespeople from doing after a review in the wake of the foreign-exchange manipulation scandal. Banks "short fill" or "partial fill" an order when they’re unable to fulfill the total value of a client’s request at the required rate. JPMorgan banned salespeople from short filling in an effort to prevent them from taking risks.

"That is not to say that all the employment judge’s conclusions were unjustified or incorrect," Judge David Richardson said in his appeal ruling handed down May 11 and made public this week. "It is difficult to see why, given its size and administrative resources," the bank "did not immediately hold a proper investigation, which would have involved an interview with" Ktorza.

Almost a dozen foreign-exchange traders and sales people have sued their former employers in the past few years, claiming they were made scapegoats by banks rushing to appease regulators amid the scandal. Global banks have paid about $10 billion to resolve investigations related to the issue.

Ktorza said during the original hearings that his suspension left him anxious and isolated and eventually cost him 2 million pounds ($2.5 million). Ktorza won his unfair dismissal claim in August.

Even if Ktorza were to be successful at the second time of asking his winnings won’t come close to covering the alleged loss. Compensation for an unfair dismissal claim like Ktorza’s is capped at about 80,000 pounds. Winnings are only uncapped if claimants can prove they were victims of discrimination, or were fired for whistle-blowing.

Ktorza, his lawyer, and a spokeswoman at JPMorgan didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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