13 April 2017 #Employment
The Chief Executive of Barclays, Jes Staley, is being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank England Prudential Regulation Authority for breaching rules regarding whistleblowing in the workplace.
In June 2016, members of the Barclays Board received anonymous letters about a senior employee. The letters were treated as whistleblowing and investigated. Mr Staley attempted to identify the authors of the letters but was subsequently informed that this was not appropriate.
An external investigation commissioned by the Barclays Board found that “Mr Staley's honestly held, but mistaken, belief was that he had clearance to identify the author of one of the letters” and that he had made further attempts to identify whistleblowing.
The Barclays board has announced that it has accepted Mr Staley’s explanation and apology, however, it will be issuing a formal written reprimand and making “a very significant compensation adjustment” to Mr Staley's variable compensation award.
This news is particularly damaging for Barclays as the bank is still in the process of rebuilding its reputation following the Libor rigging scandal and Barclays share prices have suffered as a result. Barclays is now conducting an independent review of its whistleblowing procedures.
While there is no suggestion that the staff member has suffered a detriment in this case, it is important for employers to be aware that, where there is such detrimental treatment, there is no upper limit on the compensation which can be awarded by an Employment Tribunal.
This, combined with potential reputational risks, underlines the importance of having robust whistleblowing policies in place. However, as this instance demonstrates, it is equally crucial that such policies are fully understood and adhered to by staff. Employers need to ensure that they offer adequate and regular whistleblowing training to their staff.