Head of HR Unfairly Dismissed And Subjected To Other Detriments For Raising Regulatory Disclosures Internally At Bank
A former head of HR at the investment bank, Bank Of Africa UK, has won her employment tribunal case following a ruling she was unlawfully dismissed and subjected to detriments for making public interest disclosures about potential regulatory breaches by its former CEO and Board members.
Ms Tahri made various disclosures internally from 2019 including raising regulatory concerns and raising disclosures that the then Chief Operating Officer maybe under the influence of alcohol and was behaving inappropriately towards female employees of the bank.
As a result of being subjected to detriments, being dismissed and being placed on gardening leave in 2021, Ms Tahri brought whistleblowing and unfair dismissal claims against the bank, it’s then CEO and the Chairman of its Audit Committee.
Now, following a hearing at the Central London Employment Tribunal over the course of 15 days, judgment has given in Ms Nezha Tahri’s favour.
Ms Tahri is seeking a seven-figure compensation payment due to the impact on her career in the UK. A remedy hearing is due to be set later in the year to decide on compensation for Ms Tahri.
The Tribunal held in a judgment dated 6 April 2023 that Ms Tahri was dismissed on the grounds she had made public interest disclosures and her dismissal was unfair. The Tribunal also held that Ms Tahri suffered a series of unlawful detriments for making public interest disclosures including an attempt to terminate her contract on 8 January 2021, deciding to terminate her contract on 26 April 2021, placing her on garden leave, unfairly subjecting her to criticism on the grounds of her performance (and that such criticism was inaccurate) and, ultimately, dismissing her.
After the judgment was released, the parent company in Casablanca, Bank of Africa – BMCE Group, dismissed Ms Tahri summarily on grounds relating to the Tribunal’s judgment in her favour.
Ms Tahri commented: “I was excited to join the Bank of Africa in London and proud to be a representative of the Moroccan diaspora and my country abroad. I worked extremely hard to improve workplace culture and practices. I was genuinely concerned about the regulatory risks that the bank was exposing itself to and I wanted to help it avoid those risks. However, I was punished for speaking up. The way I was treated has had a lasting effect on my health, career and well-being.”
Expert Opinion“The tactic of ignoring and marginalising Ms Tahri set the tone for the rest of her time at the bank. She was treated like a pariah rather than a loyal employee trying to do the best for the bank.
“This case demonstrates the importance of protecting whistleblowers who expose potential wrongdoing. Nezha was treated as a persona non grata for daring to raise legitimate regulatory concerns in the best interests of the Bank. Instead of taking her concerns seriously, they marginalised her and terminated her career”. Shah Qureshi, Ms Tahri’s solicitor and partner at Irwin Mitchell