BNP Paribas trader who was fired when a junior banker accused him of ’emotional terrorism’ that left him ‘with a feeling of waterboarding’ sues the French firm for £3m in unfair dismissal case

  • Omar Alami fired in 2019 from BNP Paribas after he publicly chastised employee
  • Junior banker said they were so traumatised by the outburst that they described it as ’emotional terrorism’ which left them with a ‘feeling of waterboarding’
  • Alami is now suing the French bank for £3 million over unfair dismissal claims

A former BNP Paribas manager who was fired after employees accused him of ’emotional terrorism’ that left them traumatised is suing the French bank for £3 million for unfairly dismissing him.

Omar Alami was fired in 2019 from the Paris-based job after he publicly chastised an employee, calling them ‘useless’ and ‘incompetent’ for an apparent £666,000 loss – which turned out to be a false alarm.

The junior banker said they were so traumatised by the outburst from the manager that they described it ’emotional terrorism’ which left them with a ‘feeling of waterboarding’, reports the Telegraph.

The employee said they had been subjected to months of ‘repeated humiliations’ and was put on sick leave for two weeks after the outburst, whilst an investigation conducted by BNP Paribas found Alami to have a history of degrading junior bankers. 

Alami, who earned around £1 million a year for running trading desk at BNP Paribas, denies the accusations and is now suing the company for £3 million in an unfair dismissal case, saying that he now earns much less in his new job and spends less time with his family as it is based in Switzerland rather than France.

A former BNP Paribas manager who was fired after employees accused him of ’emotional terrorism’ that left them traumatised is suing the French bank for £3 million for unfairly dismissing him. Pictured: The BNP Paribas bank in Paris

Alami told a Paris employment tribunal described his response to the junior banker for the apparent £660,000 loss was just ‘lively’.

The former manager, who said anonymous complaints made against him were difficult to argue, said: ‘I was never humiliating, I was never insulting or aggressive.’

After he was fired, Alami found a new job within a year but has struggled with it. ‘I earn 60 per cent less and spend 60 per cent less time with my family,’ he said.

Alami, who headed BNP’s equity derivatives sales in Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg, was found by the bank to have a history of degrading those who worked under him, reports Bloomberg.

Omar Alami was fired in 2019 from the Paris-based job after he publicly chastised an employee, calling them ‘useless’ and ‘incompetent’ for an apparent £666,000 loss – which turned out to be a false alarm (file image)

Speaking of the junior banker who was chastised by Alami, lawyers for BNP said: ‘The repeated humiliations had the effect of degrading his working conditions for several months.

‘Witnesses say he was very affected, that he came to the office in tears, expressing a feeling of deep unease.’

Aurelie Fournier, a lawyer for BNP, said that the bank had sent Alami for coaching lessons after noting issues with his communication style, reports the Telegraph. But it was not until people complained that the extent of the issue came to light.

‘It’s quite rare for people on trading floors to speak up,’ Ms Fournier told judges.

The Paris tribunal is expected announce its ruling on May 17.

The case comes as the industry examines what kind of behaviour is appropriate in such an intense environment where billions of pounds are at stake each day. 

In London, a banker is suing UBS after claiming that managers at the company shout, promoting a ‘toxic environment. But the Swiss bank defended the culture, saying that stress ‘is the unavoidable reality of the work of a City trader.’

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