Fired Moody’s Executive Wins Back Paris Job, Gets $1.8 Million Payout

By Gaspard Sebag | January 16, 2019

A Moody’s Corp. managing director fired for lashing out at a junior co-worker who criticized his team’s work won his Paris job back and a 1.6 million-euro ($1.8 million) payout.

Moody’s France fired the managing director in March 2015 after saying an internal investigation found that he retaliated against a female analyst he managed who had questioned the way his team monitored a fund. But last week the Paris Appeals Court reversed his dismissal for gross misconduct after ruling that one of the allegations of retaliation didn’t stand up.

The judges ordered his reinstatement as team managing director within a month on annual pretax pay of about 282,000 euros. Moody’s also owes him a provisional amount of 1 million euros in back pay as well as a 2014 bonus and 500,000 euros in damages linked to stock endowments. The man — whose name was blacked out in the ruling — had lost a prior employment-tribunal lawsuit but appealed, leading to last week’s decision.

It wasn’t immediately clear how Moody’s would comply with the judgment. Representatives for the financial services firm declined to immediately comment.

Tarnished Reputations

Bankers throughout Europe routinely turn to specialist labor courts to recoup lost bonuses and rehabilitate tarnished reputations. While it’s rare, some win re-employment. Last year, a Barclays Plc trader fired at the behest of a New York regulator for misusing an electronic trading program won a new contract for a post that paid 150,000 pounds ($193,000) a year.

In the Paris case, Moody’s fired the managing director for having made an “unfounded” report about the analyst alleging that she had harassed another colleague. The credit rating firm said the report was yet another example of retaliation that added to poor ratings he gave the analyst in her annual review.

Yet the Paris judges said that this was “contradicted” by the direct testimony of the colleague who was allegedly harassed. The colleague said she had alerted the managing director four times in less than half a year, and that the analyst had an “offensive and nearly abusive attitude” toward her.

That alone justifies canceling the dismissal, the court of appeals ruled, underlining that, under French law, employees can’t be fired for having testified about harassment.

–With assistance from Peter Chapman.

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