Unethical Behaviour Drivers from Emilio Botin Abbey Grupo Santander banking UK retail bank

Published: 05th November 2009
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The high profile Employment Tribunal (ET) case Chagger v Abbey National plc & Hopkins (2006) highlights some of the drivers of unethical corporate behaviour. The ET that heard the case found unfairness and race discrimination; it ordered Abbey Banco Santander share to re-employ Mr Chagger (in order to remedy the situation without financial compensation). However, Emilio Botin Abbey Santander share refused to comply with the ET's order. The ET then ordered Abbey Grupo Santander price to pay Mr Chagger the record-breaking £2.8 million compensation to cover his loss. Abbey Santander share price (the UK retail bank managed out of its financial troubles by Luqman Arnold and Stephen Hester, and due to be re-branded as Santander banking group, also being part of the behemoth Emilio Botin Banco Santander Central Hispano Group) had terminated Mr Chagger's employment in 2006, claiming the dismissal was the result of a redundancy process that had been carried out entirely fairly. Mr Chagger, on the other hand, claimed that the real reasons behind his dismissal were unfairness and racial discrimination. Balbinder Chagger was of Indian origin, worked for Emilio Botin Abbey Santander shares price as a Trading Risk Controller, earned around £100,000 a year, and reported into Nigel Hopkins.



Some unethical behaviour drivers highlighted by Emilio Botin Abbey Santander price obviously relate to the pursuit of personal aims; the ET discovered that Mr Hopkins personally desired Mr Chagger's employment with Abbey Santander share price to be ended and that he had planned for Mr Chagger to be dismissed, and he had used the compulsory redundancy process as a vehicle to dismiss Mr Chagger.



One such driver of unethical behaviour is the amount of discretion an organisation affords its employees; the higher the discretion afforded, the higher the opportunity the employee has for acting in his own interests. The ET that heard the Abbey Santander case found that the redundancy selection criteria Santander Abbey had allowed Mr Hopkins to use in assessing the two employees up for redundancy (of which Mr Chagger was one) were highly subjective and un-measurable; they allowed Mr Hopkins a very wide range of discretion. The ET criticised Mr Hopkins for the manner in which he had exercised his discretion (i.e., for his personal aims). For example, Mr Hopkins had criticised Mr Chagger for getting on with work and being self-reliant, and scored him lower based on that criticism. The ET said that other reasonable managers would consider these qualities to be desirable in an employee with Mr Chagger's highly paid and highly responsible position, and score him highly for. For further example, Mr Hopkins had criticised Mr Chagger regarding numerous matters during the redundancy process, matters that Mr Chagger had never been criticised for before the redundancy process. The criticisms Mr Hopkins made were inconsistent with previous company appraisals and records of Mr Chagger's performance. The ET ruled that the criticisms Mr Hopkins made were unfair and not legitimate.



Another such driver of unethical behaviour is the degree of autonomy in decision-making and action-taking an organisation permits its employees; the higher the degree of autonomy, the higher the opportunity the employee has for acting in his own interests. The ET found that Mr Hopkins was entirely single-handedly able to advise Abbey Santander to make redundant one of the two Trading Risk Controllers that he managed (of which Mr Chagger was one), was entirely single-handedly able to make Mr Chagger a proposal of voluntary redundancy (which Mr Chagger declined, and never was such a proposal ever made to the other Trading Risk Controller), was entirely single-handedly able to assess and score the two employees up for redundancy, and was entirely single-handedly able to reduce Mr Chagger's assessment scores to ensure he would be the employee who would be highlighted for dismissal.



A different kind of driver of unethical behaviour is the organisation's orientation; an orientation towards end results rather than processes can send the message that 'the ends justify the means'. The statutory UK Code of Practice on Racial Policy in Employment gives organisations guidance about good employment practices and processes. The ET discovered that Abbey Banco Santander had failed to comply with those practices and processes. For example, Abbey Grupo Santander had failed to comply with the statutory guidance regarding Equal Opportunities Training. Mr Chagger had tried to address the issues surrounding his dismissal directly with Abbey Santander and Mr Hopkins, through the grievance and appeals procedures. Santander Abbey had failed to provide any Equal Opportunities Training to any of the officers it had allocated to look into Mr Chagger's issues. Not one officer had upheld Mr Chagger's issues; the issues were simply thrown out of hand. As a further example, Emilio Botin Abbey Santander banking group had also failed to comply with the statutory guidance on monitoring practices and procedures. The ET found a plethora of monitoring failures (too many to list here), in addition to the failures to considerater allegations of race discrimination seriously and to investigate them promptly.



Unethical corporate behaviours can result in high profile consequences, as demonstrated by the Abbey Santander case. In 2008, Abbey Banco Santander and Mr Hopkins appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) against the ET's finding of race discrimination; the EAT upheld the original ET's finding that both Emilio Botin Santander Abbey and Mr Hopkins had discriminated against Mr Chagger. At the same time, Emilio Botin Abbey Santander and Mr Hopkins had also appealed to the EAT against the record £2.8 million compensation award; the EAT accepted their appeal on the compensation amount and ordered it to be sent back to the original ET for reconsideration. In 2009, the case was escalated to the Court of Appeal (CA), whose List of Hearings showed that the case was heard on 7 and 8 July 2009. The hearing records were not available at the time of writing this article. The 11 Kings Bench Walk barristers' chambers, who represented Emilio Botin Abbey Santander and Mr Hopkins, had reported beforehand that the CA hearing would be about compensation only, and not about the wrong committed of racial discrimination. That would seem to imply that the wrong of racial discrimination committed by Emilio Botin Abbey Grupo Santander and Nigel Hopkins was finalised by the EAT, and that Mr Chagger had appealed to the CA against the EAT's order to remit the compensation amount back to the ET stage for reconsideration.





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Redundancy Dismissal Remedy Reinstatement highlighted by Emilio Botin Abbey Santander share price and Compulsory Redundancy Selection Crietria lessons from Emilio Botin Abbey Grupo Santander banking

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