Another bank found itself mired in an employment tribunal claim last week. A manager at ING's investment banking arm stands accused of bullying a staff member. In there, too, are claims of client fraud. 31 year-old former ING ECM manager Oliver Payne is claiming constructive dismissal.
Payne claims that he had a torrid time at ING. He says that he was punched, threatened and abused by his boss, who humiliated him in front of colleagues. The former ING manager even claimed that his boss once swung a baseball bat at him on the trading floor (although it is said to have only been a foam kiddies toy!) and says that, on another occasion, he also rifled through Payne's private address book in order to contact one of Payne's female friends.
And just to make matters worse, Payne says that ING's investment banking arm used three share issues to defraud clients of $30m. ING vigorously deny Payne's claims. The bank says that Payne was given the opportunity to work elsewhere in the firm and that he did not respond to their efforts to overcome his concerns. As to the suggestion of client fraud, the banks says its pure bunk. ING says that 'Mr Payne's complaints were fully investigated by ING.....As a result we are entirely satisfied that ING's clients have not suffered any loss (and) that Mr Payne's allegations of fraud are entirely unfounded......We have kept the (regulator) FSA advised throughout'.
ING remain confident and clearly would not have decided to fight unless it was sure it had a strong case. This year has already seen firms like DrKW, BNP Paribas and Merrill Lynch vindicated at employment tribunal or by the High Court. The Payne case is due to conclude next week.