Archive for the ‘Arbitration’ Category

CIBC Loses Age Discrimination Case In The UK

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

By: Ainsley Brown

It would seem that yet another Canadian bank has received a wrap on the knuckles in the UK. The latest bank to be disciplined: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), who lost an employment age discrimination case.

The case was brought by a 42 year old London based banker who was made redundant in 2008 as part of a larger redundancy programme initiated by CIBC in response to the global credit crunch. The banker, a Mr. Achim Beck, was head of marketing at CIBC when he was let go, as part of this redundancy programme.

Hold on, not so fast.

According to the London South Employment Tribunal this was not true – quit the opposite it would seem. The tribunal held that CIBC could not satisfy the burden placed on it to demonstrate that its decision to make Mr. Beck redundant “was not significantly influenced by his age.”

CIBC’s case was severely undermined when it was revealed in evidence that an internal memo that set out the criteria for a replacement marketing executive stated that the position should be filled by a “younger entrepreneurial profile.” Before the tribunal CIBC sought to clarify the meaning of the above words by saying that the word younger was qualified by the following entrepreneurial. Further, the use of younger was not used in relation to age but rather indicated experience level. However, the tribunal was having none of it, especially when it was revealed that the bank’s own London head of human resources thought that the use of the word younger was inappropriate.

With evidence like that, is it little wonder that the tribunal ruled as it did?

A determination as to the quantum of the award to Mr. Beck is not yet known but will be determined at a later hearing subject to the parties reaching a settlement before that date.


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Commerzbank sued for millions by former Dresdner Kleinwort traders

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

By: Rechtsanwalt (Attorney) Carsten Lexa, LL.M.

A group of 72 former Dresdner Kleinwort traders have sued the new owner of Dresdner Bank AG, Commerzbank AG, claiming it reneged around 34 million Euros of guaranteed bonus payments.

The traders argued that their bonusses were guaranteed before Commerzbank Bank´s 5 billion Euros takeover of Dresdner Bank and should not be affected by subsequent losses.

Commerzbank, however, reduced the bonusses by 90%. It claimed the global financial crises allowed the bank to invoke a so-called „Material Adverse Claim“ clause. Such clause would provide the legal right to reduce the bonusses (a material adverse claim might be promising if business circumstances have changed in a dramatically uncomfortable way).

The traders would have a point if they could prove that a contractual guarantee was indeed given by Dresdner Bank and that such guarantee irrevocable. However, in December 2008, the traders received a standardised announcement that mentioned „preliminary bonus payments“. The announcement contained terms like „arbitrary“, „provisional“, „liable to review“ and „to reserve the right to reduce“.

These terms do not sound like an irrevocable guarantee. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this legal battle and to read the grounds for the judgement. However, it is in question whether this dispute will end with a court decision – it is more like that the parties will end with a settlement.

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New Flat Rate ADR Service Launched In Toronto

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

By: Ainsley Brown

For a $6, 000 flat rate companies and individuals that agree can now have their disputes resolved within a 2 and half month – now that is both cheap and speedy.

The new services launched by ADR Chambers Inc. looks to resolve business disputes an expeditious and cost-effective manner. By agreeing to an expedited arbitration process disputants hope to avoid paying the money or spending the time battling it out in the courts. This service is, therefore ideal for disputes in the range of $150, 000 – $250,000, where legal fees can consume a large portion of any court award, says Mr. Allen Stitt, president of ADR. Mr. Stitt also expects that the service to be very popular between companies who wish to maintain their existing relationship and keep their dispute private by avoiding the public specter of an open court.

The service basically works like this: the parties agree to bring their dispute to ADR, where their case will be heard by former judges or senior lawyers – adding gravitas to any ruling. The parties are responsible for paying their own lawyers and agree to follow strict rules as to timelines and volume of materials filed. The parties then submit a written brief and present their case orally before the arbitrator. The arbitrator then makes his/her ruling and must give reasons. There is no right of appeal; however, the parties do have the right to turn to the courts if they believe that they have been denied natural justice.

Disputes are therefore resolved in an expeditious and cost-effective manner.


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