(Bloomberg) -- A former sales director at Bank of America Corp. won a French employment lawsuit against the lender in a dispute over whether he lied about the fact he was dismissed by his previous employer, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Adrien Tutenuit, who worked in FX sales, was fired without cause and should be awarded about $200,000, judges at the Paris Court of Appeals said in an April 4 ruling.
Bank of America was wrong to claim that he misled them to get a 47,339-euro ($58,000) signing bonus that the lender saw as a way to make up for pay he would lose when leaving JPMorgan, the judges said. The lender fired Tutenuit after finding out he hadn’t quit, but had been dismissed as part of an economic layoff plan and was still getting deferred pay from JPMorgan.
Judges said the former banker can’t be accused of concealing anything because JPMorgan didn’t start the layoff process more than 10 days after Tutenuit had signed his contract with Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch Capital Markets unit in France.
“That excludes any dishonest intention on his part,” the court of appeal judges said in their ruling. In any case, there’s no proof the bonus was designed to offset the pay Tutenuit would have lost if he had quit, according to the decision.
Neither Bank of America representatives nor Tutenuit’s lawyer, Helene Lafont Gaudriot, immediately responded to email or telephone calls seeking comment.
Lost First Trial
Bankers routinely turn to specialist labor courts throughout Europe to recoup lost bonuses and rehabilitate reputations, with varying degrees of success. Tutenuit lost his first lawsuit in 2016, and then appealed.
The court of appeals awarded him 120,056 euros to make up for the unfair dismissal, an international travel bonus and legal fees. He was also granted $60,083 related to shares he had earned but that the bank took away when firing him for misconduct in July 2013.
The Paris court of appeals ruling cited the letter dismissing Tutenuit, where Bank of America said it discovered that he hadn’t quit JPMorgan as he “pretended” and was still getting deferred pay from the New York-based lender.
“During our interview on July 2, 2013, you admitted having voluntarily hidden this deferred compensation,” according to the letter quoted in the ruling. “This situation of cover up isn’t acceptable given your responsibilities and your seniority in a company like ours that has to manage clients’ money with the utmost honesty.”
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.