A former Citigroup investment banker has won an age discrimination case after his boss said “you are old and set in your ways”.
The Employment Tribunal Court found that Niels Kirk, a managing director of energy banking, had been unfairly dismissed following the comments by his boss, Manolo Falco.
The tribunal concluded that Kirk, who was 55 at the time, had proved that his dismissal was a result of age discrimination.
In a ruling on 2 January, Judge Goodrich said the comment was “the kind of throwaway remark Mr Falco would make”.
According to documents in the case, Kirk’s performance ranking fell from the best possible grade in 2014, to three, a solid performance, in 2015 and 2016. His total remuneration fell from £901,669 in 2013 to £534,614 three years later.
Kirk was laid off as part of Citigroup’s restructuring. His successor was just four years younger than him.
Goodrich noted that witnesses in the case, including Tom Isaac, head of corporate banking EMEA, had treated allegations of any age discrimination with “some incredulity”.
The size of any settlement will be decided at a later hearing.
Kirk did not respond to a request for comment.
A spokesperson for Citigroup said: “Citi denies that Mr Kirk’s redundancy was in any way related to his age. While the tribunal did not uphold all of Mr Kirk’s case, we are disappointed with its decision regarding his termination, particularly given the small age gap between Mr Kirk and the employee who was ultimately appointed to the role.
“The tribunal found that the rationale for the combined role was sound. Citi is appealing the tribunal’s judgement.”