Junior banker’s failed attempt at humor leads to trial


It is not difficult to feel sorry for each of the two main protagonists of a labor court involving Barclays’ London operation which ended earlier this month. The young woman – Anca Lacatus – has pain endometriosis this makes her job difficult and it means that she is now living in the parental home again. The young man – James Kinghorn – has two children and may have quit his job at Barclays, although it is not clear whether this was due to the affair (Barclays did not respond to our request to comment on his fate).

Described by the judge as “smart,” Kinghorn was an associate vice president (AVP) in Barclays’ London rate options middle office team. Lacatus worked there as an entrepreneur at the analyst level between 2016 and 2020.

Kinghorn was at the very least more considerate than Lacatus’ supervisor – a woman described by Lacatus as giving “looks of spite” and whom a colleague said had a “combative style of communication”. After reviewing the texts exchanged between Kinghorn and Lacatus, the judge said Kinghorn was “rightly sympathetic” and expressed “genuine concern” for Lacatus amid his worsening health problems. Nonetheless, Barclays was found guilty of direct sex discrimination, and Kinghorn’s failed attempts to be funny are to blame.

On at least two occasions starting in 2018, Kinghorn referred to women as “birds” in Lacatus’s presence, in what he said was an attempt to be light-hearted. On a related note, he jokingly suggested that Lacatus shouldn’t report it to HR.

Lacatus objected to being called a bird when this first happened. The judge in the case found that while Kinghorn tried to be witty, his “rather childish attempt at irony” fell flat and the language he used was sexist. The decision also indicated that Kinghorn could have done more to learn more about Lacatus’s health and could have reduced his hours accordingly.

Lacatus won £ 46,000 ($ 63,000) when she joined Barclays. She said she constantly had to work more than 48 hours a week and she was unfairly expected to train her colleagues when she was a junior herself. In comparison, she complained that Kinghorn often left work early on Monday nights to play football and returned late in the morning (which the judge found sometimes happened when Kinghorn took his daughters to school) and that this was discriminatory.

Overall, however, the court found that Kinghorn did not discriminate against Lacatus by making him work longer than him. – In fact, Lacatus spent just over half of her time in 2018 working less than 35 hours per week, and the remaining weeks she worked an average of six hours of overtime. Although the judge admitted that Lacatus was working “far too often until late in the evening ”, the court therefore found that Lacatus did not work more than 48 hours per week and that Kinghorn was doing his weight and working as late as the others …

The entire 185-page court ruling should be required reading for anyone managing a team in the City of London and is a lesson in how ‘jokes’ can come back to bite. While Lacatus’s claim failed in several respects (she also argued that she was unfairly dismissed, underpaid, and unfairly denied long-term sickness benefits, among others), her claim for discrimination based on sex after Kinghorn mentioned the “birds” means she is entitled to compensation which will be determined by another court later this year. Barclays said: “We agree that the language used was inappropriate and unacceptable, as does the person who used it.”

It could have been worse. – Lacatus also called Kinghorn’s reference to an Italian colleague as “the Italian dude” as proof of his propensity for racial discrimination. She also complained that Kinghorn and the same Italian praised their Japanese colleague for ‘always be available at all times ”, and that this was tantamount to tacitly suggesting that women should be available to work all the time. The judge rejected these two elements of the claim …

In addition, hires are exploding in Paris after Brexit. Renaud Garnier, recruiter at Michael Page in Paris, confided Bloomberg that good candidates based in Paris now have “three or four” different employers chasing them, and that in some cases candidates may live seven hours from Paris and come to the office one day a week due to the level of demand, something this has never been possible before COVID.

A bank that will hire in the French capital is Citi, which has just recruited Sylvie Renaud Calmel of SocGen at the head of its French markets activity. Calmel should strengthen the Parisian team.

During this time…

Something funny may have happened before Goldman’s recent purchase of Greensky. – A trader made a return of 3,900% after purchasing 8000 options that would pay off if GreenSky’s price exceeded $ 10. (CNBC)

24 year old The cryptocurrency hedge fund manager was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison after lying about returns and siphoning money from his $ 90 million fund to pay for a lavish lifestyle. (WSJ)

Jump Trading is setting up a separate unit of over 80 people focused on the growth and development of blockchain networks and digital coins. (Financial Times)

Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing apologized to Germany’s finance ministry for a DB research note that questioned the qualifications of regulators and criticized a government-backed pension system “failing”. (Bloomberg)

Deutsche Bank reversed its loss of market share on Fixed Income Stream products. She has also hired 23 fixed income salespeople and traders since mid-2019. (IFRE)

The Daily Mail has tracked down Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey and determined he leaves home for office at 6 a.m. and remains in office at 6 p.m. This is apparently proof that other Bank staff should be in the office as well. (Daily mail)

Goldman Sachs opened its office in a WeWork (for starters) in Birmingham, UK, and blanketed the city with posters saying “We are here because you are here “and” Goldman Sachs. We hire.” (Sky)

DBS Bank in Singapore is hiring 150 people in tech roles (including AI) in new hackathon. (Straits Times)

HSBC already hired for 400 direct-to-client positions for its mainland digital wealth planning business known as HSBC Pinnacle and will have around 700 personal wealth planners in the field by the end of the year. (South China Morning Post)

Coinbase HR Director (who previously worked for Citadel) on the difference remote working makes: “As of March 2020, 69% of our employees were based in the Bay Area. Today only 30% of our employees live there, although our total workforce has more than doubled during this time.. ” (Protocol)

One of Morgan Stanley’s new IBD analysts suffers from dwarfism. “I was afraid of how someone like me, a first generation college student from a low income background, with no connections and no business experience, might be successful … ” (Business intern)

Walking 7,000-8,000 steps a day will reduce your risk of premature death by up to 70%. (New York Times)

photo by Saad Chaudhry to Unsplash

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