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Barclays pays the price for misconduct

 28th Jun 2012

Barclays has been fined a whopping £290m for trying to manipulate a key bank interest rate, which influences the cost of loans and mortgages.  Its traders lied to make the bank look more secure during the financial crisis, and on occasion, they worked with traders at other banks in order to make a profit for the bank. 

Barclays has said that this conduct “fell well short of standards”.  Possibly an understatement.

Both UK and US authorities have criticised Barclays' lack of internal controls and inadequate supervision of trading desks, which effectively allowed the misconduct to occur.

Employers encountering misconduct should not shy away from dealing with it.  Although most issues can be dealt with on an informal basis by having a quiet word, more serious cases require a formal, structured approach.

Get it wrong and you could end up in the Employment Tribunal.  To get it right, employers should:

  1. Put disciplinary rules in writing. These will vary from organisation to organisation, but should cover such matters as: conduct; timekeeping; health & safety; absence and email/internet usage.

  2. Make sure employees know what standards of behaviour are expected.
  3. Write a disciplinary procedure and refer to it in your contracts of employment.
  4. Follow the ACAS Code of Practice by:
  • Carrying out an investigation without delay
  • Writing to the employee, setting out the allegations, and inviting them to a hearing
  • Provide copies of relevant documents or witness statements
  • Give the employee the right to be accompanied
  • Allow the employee an opportunity to state their case
  • Write with your decision and the right of appeal
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