A UK appeals court judge has decided that former JP Morgan FX salesperson Patrice Ktorza’s case must be reheard by an employment tribunal.
In a judgement, Judge David Richardson accepted the bank’s claim that the original judge who head the case had adopted “a legally incorrect” approach to the law and “disregarded or misunderstood” important aspects of JP Morgan’s case.
Ktorza won his claim for unfair dismissal in August 2016, however Profit & Loss noted at the time that the case was “tricky” because it involved the subject of partial fills of client orders. Ktorza was dismissed by the bank for breaching its recently-introduced policy on partial fills, however he claimed – and the original judge accepted – that he was unaware of the change in policy.
The trade that led to Ktorza’s dismissal took place on 31 October 2014. In the original finding the court was told a JP Morgan client had placed an order for 10 million EURUSD. A trader told Ktorza that he had filled the order but Ktorza then apparently asked the trader to sell back 5 million, thus signalling he was engaging in or wished to engage in short-filling. The first
tribunal heard that the trader “evidently was taken aback” and there was a disagreement between Ktorza and the trader, who expected that he should have been told the whole story before he filled the order. According to the Ktorza’s manager, this was the first occasion since the policy was imposed and a training session for staff held, that any member of the sales staff had engaged
in short-filling in this way.
Ktorza at the time of his dismissal, had received two written warnings, the first had lapsed but the second was extant and was imposed because Ktorza had apparently been “late booking trades and running risk by tightening prices without reference to a trader”.
“If the Employment Judge had separated out the findings that he was required to make for himself for the purposes of deciding contributory conduct from those that he was required to make about the Respondent’s decision to dismiss…his reasoning would have been more transparent,” judge Richardson adds, concluding, “It is, to my mind, a remarkable feature of the Employment Judge’s Reasons that there is no clear finding at any point as to whether the Respondent succeeded in showing the principal reason for dismissal or whether it related to conduct.”