Former BGC broker loses Employment Tribunal bullying claim

MoJA former broker at London broker firm BGC Partners has lost his employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal amid accusations of bullying and harassment.

Mr Robert Bou-Simon, who had previously been head of BGC’s basic swaps desk until he resigned in June 2013, brought a claim for constructive unfair dismissal against BGC Partners after he claimed that he had been systematically bullied and managed out of his job at the broker firm.

Mr Bou-Simon’s claim came to the Employment Tribunal earlier this year, with Mr Bou-Simon giving evidence in his favour at the hearing. Mr Bou-Simon gave evidence that the alleged bullying started just days after he commenced employment, when he refused to take part in an initiation ceremony at the broker firm known as “The Run, where brokers are drenched with water after making their first trade. Mr Bou-Simon contended that the bullying against him had continued on exchanges of “instant messages” between employees, that junior employees attempted to get him fired by submitting complaints, and that the firm had acted in breach of contract by halving his salary just months after he started his job (from £500,000 per annum to £250,000 per annum).

Lawyers for BGC Partners claimed that Mr Bou-Simon had taken an active part in “banter” (which, the tribunal commented, could be homophobic, racist and sexist in nature) on the instant messaging sites and that there had been no concerted campaign to force Mr Bou-Simon out of his job.

The Employment Tribunal judgment was released last month and sent to the parties. Employment Tribunal Bernice Elgot, chairing the Employment Tribunal hearing, found against Mr Bou-Simon in his claim for unfair dismissal, holding that Mr Bou-Simon had in fact taken an active part in the workplace “banter” and that the attempt to move him to a different unit, investigations into complaints, and cutting of his salary hadn’t constituted a fundamental breach of contract.

Neither Mr Bou-Simon’s legal team nor a spokesman for BGC were prepared to comment on the judgment of the Employment Tribunal.

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented on the case: “Constructive dismissal cases are often difficult to succeed with as the claimant must show that there has been conduct which is serious enough to constitute a fundamental breach of contract by the company’s employees – the tribunal judge found that, in this particular case, the conduct by BGC’s employees hadn’t been sufficient to reach this threshold.”