Ex-Goldman Analyst Seeks Record U.K. Discrimination Payout
(Bloomberg) -- A former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst who says the bank discriminated against him because of his attention deficit condition is seeking as much as 11.5 million pounds ($14.9 million) in a London court.
Kwasi Afrifa, who worked alongside traders in the equities and credit markets, said that he was compelled to resign in May 2018 after the bank’s "stubborn refusal" to take steps to ease his working life. He said that he lost the chance of a lucrative career in investment banking and is claiming an award that would be more than triple the highest ever payout at a U.K. employment tribunal, Goldman Sachs’ lawyers said.
The 31-year-old former analyst said he took medication to deal with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder condition and he suffered from being easily distracted. In his appraisals, managers repeatedly told him to pay better attention to detail and took him to task for failing to communicate ideas concisely as well as to complete tasks on time – issues that were related to his ADHD, he said.
Afrifa, who had a base salary of 50,000 pounds, testified Thursday in a London employment tribunal, where he’s accused the lender of constructive dismissal on the grounds of disability.
Goldman Sachs lawyers said that Afrifa was a poor performer and he would have likely been dismissed by early 2019 at the latest if he hadn’t resigned. Afrifa “with his particular characteristics and traits is fundamentally unsuited and ill-equipped to perform to a satisfactory and acceptable standard, the role of an analyst in an investment bank,” the lender’s attorney, James Laddie, said.
Afrifa resigned from the Fundamental Strategies Group in London after he said that Goldman Sachs ignored suggested adjustments that would make it easier for him to work. After suffering from insomnia, he’d been signed off sick from work. He had suggested using annotation and note-taking tools to manage information and transcription, something he said that was rejected by his “hostile” managers.
Goldman Sachs’ “stubborn refusal to engage with my needs” meant that “there was no conceivable way in which I could contemplate remaining in employment,” Afrifa said.
The bank said it didn’t need to implement the adjustments because they wouldn’t have helped. "It is not a duty to run experiments," Laddie said in a written submission. A Goldman Sachs spokesman declined to comment.
After his resignation, Afrifa told the bank that the discrimination caused him to lose out on potential career opportunities including working at a hedge fund or in asset management after Goldman Sachs. He calculated that the potential loss of earnings for a hedge fund manager who retires at age 45 is 11.5 million pounds, while an asset manager quitting at 55 would have earned around 8.5 million pounds.
Both options would be the highest payout ever awarded. Svetlana Lokhova, who worked as an equity saleswoman in Sberbank’s London unit, was awarded 3.2 million pounds for sexual harassment.
Afrifa had “a completely negligible chance of being the kind of person who retires at 45 having amassed 11.5 million pounds,” Laddie said. There was “nothing to suggest that you are such an exceptional person.”
In U.K. employment cases, an award is capped at around 84,000 pounds unless a worker can show discrimination or that they were blowing the whistle on improper actions.
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