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Tribunal Orders Re-engagement of Unfairly Dismissed Trader

on Friday, 04 March 2022.

A trader unfairly dismissed from his job at a bank in London has won a re-engagement order for an associated company in Hong Kong, and over £1.5 million in lost salary and benefits between dismissal and re-engagement.

A Case of Alleged 'Spoofing'

Mr Jones was a financial analyst who had been unfairly dismissed in January 2020 following an incident of alleged 'spoofing' that had occurred some four years earlier, in 2016. Spoofing is a form of market manipulation which is a criminal offence.

The bank determined in 2016 that Mr Jones' behaviour did not warrant disciplinary action, but revisited its decision in 2019 following the introduction of a new spoofing policy and internal review. Mr Jones was subject to a disciplinary procedure in 2019, during which he said he could not remember the afternoon or the trades in question. He was dismissed for gross misconduct.

What Outcome Did the Tribunal Reach?

Mr Jones pursued a claim of unfair dismissal which was upheld by the tribunal. The true reason for dismissal was not misconduct but the bank's desire to appease its regulators. The bank also did not genuinely believe Mr Jones had committed misconduct at the time of his dismissal and the Tribunal in fact found Mr Jones' conduct not to amount to spoofing. The dismissal was also found to be unfair on procedural grounds.

In light of the unfair dismissal finding, Mr Jones sought compensation for loss of earnings, and reinstatement, or alternatively re-engagement. Mr Jones said he would not get a job elsewhere because the bank had said it would provide a regulatory reference stating it did not consider him to be a fit and proper person to perform the role.

Between Mr Jones' dismissal and the remedies hearing, there had been redundancies in his team, which the bank said meant that it would not be practical for Mr Jones to be reinstated. Mr Jones identified a role with an associated employer in Hong Kong and indicated he would be willing to relocate for the role.

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Remedies for Unfair Dismissal

The Tribunal ordered the bank to re-engage Mr Jones in the Hong Kong role. The role in Hong Kong was more comparable and suitable. Given its considerable resources, the bank could accommodate Mr Jones in that alternative role.

The Tribunal also awarded Mr Jones approximately £1.5 million in loss of earnings. Where re-engagement is ordered, awards for the period between dismissal and re-engagement are uncapped.  

What Lessons Can Be Learnt from This Case?

Whilst re-engagement orders are extremely rare, the Tribunal found if Mr Jones was not re-engaged as part of the remedy for his claim, he would not be able to work in a regulated role in the financial services sector within the UK again, due to the regulatory reference provided by the bank.

This decision therefore is an interesting example of the lengths the Tribunal can go to in order to remedy an unfair dismissal, particularly where the implications of having been treated unfairly extend beyond the loss of the claimant's job, but potentially impact on their whole career and earning potential.

For further information and advice regarding unfair dismissal, please contact Nick Murrell in our Employment Law team on 07500 009162, or complete the form below.

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