Ex-Glencore Oil Trader Fired for Drinking Loses ‘Ludicrous’ Suit

By Kit Chellel | December 11, 2013

An ex-Glencore Xstrata Plc trader who was fired for drinking too much lost a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company, with a judge calling the case “ludicrous.”

Judge Richard Seymour in London said Andrew Kearns’ firing in 2010 “was richly justified.”

Seymour had already dismissed a portion of the lawsuit over a share award worth about $1.2 million and today rejected the remaining wrongful termination claim seeking about 12,000 pounds ($20,000).

Kearns, who earned about $500,000 a year, “regularly consumed excessive amounts of alcohol,” which meant he was late for work or unable to function effectively, Seymour said in the written decision.

Kearns, who didn’t appear in the London courtroom to hear the ruling and is no longer represented by his legal team, will have to pay Glencore’s legal costs of at least 150,000 pounds, the judge said.

Jonathan Cohen, a lawyer for Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore, said today that Kearns was “dishonest in his evidence” and didn’t realize how much the company had tried to help him.

Cohen told the judge that when Glencore offered to help Kearns see an addiction expert, he responded by spending an afternoon in the pub.

Kearns argued during the trial that Glencore’s claims weren’t true and that he had been doing his job by socializing with clients. He denied having an alcohol problem and said the company singled him out because of a disagreement with managers.

Ahmed Miah, the lawyer who represented him at the trial, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.

Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, is a non-executive director of Glencore Xstrata.

The case is Andrew Stephen Kearns v. Glencore UK Ltd., High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, HQ12X03294

(Editors: Anthony Aarons, Amanda Jordan)

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