Credit Agricole Trader Says Pandemic WFH Cost Him His Job
(Bloomberg) -- An ex-Credit Agricole trader, fired for not flagging major volatility in the gold market, accused the bank of failing to set up proper working from home arrangements early in the coronavirus pandemic.
Samuel Yang, who joined the bank’s precious metal desk in 2011, sued the lender in London under whistle blowing and race discrimination rules.
He said he was “scapegoated” by Credit Agricole after it didn’t give clear guidance on how to manage risk while working remotely and accused it of “side-stepping” regulatory scrutiny, according to documents prepared for a London employment tribunal.
The case is one of the first U.K. working from home in the pandemic employment tribunal to make it into the public domain. Remote working brought a raft of challenges for trading firms and compliance officials as they had to navigate instigating the usual patchwork of monitoring rules with traders all alone at home.
Yang was made redundant in July 2020 for serious misconduct after the French-lender claimed he failed to escalate a gold volatility episode in March that year, that had a potential negative impact of as much as $30 million, the bank’s lawyers said in court documents.
The gold market was rocked early on in the coronavirus pandemic as logistical disruptions caused by the start of lockdowns meant that gold could no longer be transported to trading hubs and refineries were shut down.
Credit Agricole denied Yang’s claims and said he was fired after a disciplinary tribunal found he had failed to raise the extreme volatility. Yang’s conduct was also notified to the Financial Conduct Authority by the bank.
A spokesperson for the bank declined to comment further but said that it is “vigorously” defending it in an emailed statement.
“Instead of my usual access to systems and screens and news streams and data streams and the ability to chat with team members sitting next to me, or to check market color with brokers over the direct lines, I relied heavily on what my colleagues in the office told me,” Yang said in his witness statement.
Yang, who is Chinese, also alleged he was racially stereotyped during the disciplinary process and discriminated against in comparison to other traders on his desk. He said that since his dismissal he has been unable to find work at another U.K. financial institution.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.