By: Ellen A. S. Low
Reported earlier this October, former trader, Jerome Kerviel, was sentenced to three years in jail and ordered to re-pay his former employer 4.9 billion euro.
The French bank, Société Generale, accused Kerviel of a rogue trading scandal that apparently cost the bank close to 5 billion Euros.  Kerviel allegedly made bets of up to 50 million euro on futures contracts.  Although Kerviel admitted that he regularly exceeded trading limits and entered false transactions to cover up the size of his bets, he insists the bank and his bosses knew about actions all along and were ok with it so long as the Bank was making money.  Not surprisingly, the Bank denied any knowledge of Kerviel’s “wrongdoing” whatsoever, while Kerviel insists that he was just the ‘fall guy’.
In general, if an employer knows an employee is doing something they shouldn’t be, but turns a blind eye and fails to take any measures to correct the wrong or address the behaviour, the employer will have effectively ‘condoned’ the wrongdoing.  An employer who condones bad behaviour loses the right to fire an employee for the misconduct.  Essentially, it would unjust for an employer to lull the employee into a belief that his or her behaviour is acceptable only to later use the same misconduct to fire the employee.
However, the onus is on the fired employee to demonstrate that the employer knew about the activity and either permitted it, or acted as though it were permissible.  With his in mind, Kerviel plans to appeal the trial decision stating he hopes “to prove once and for all that I wasn’t the only one in the boat.”

Share This