Employment watchdog throws out bank boss's job title complaint
"Sadly, publicity around employment relations issues mostly negatively affects the employee's reputation, even when the employer has behaved badly."Featured comment
The former New Zealand boss of J P Morgan Chase Bank has failed in a compensation bid after claiming the bank refused to confirm his role as chief executive.
Robert Wade Lewis alleged J P Morgan Chase Bank breached a settlement agreement with him in 2010 by failing to refer to him by the correct job title in relation to his time working at the bank.
In his complaint to the Employment Relations Authority, Mr Lewis said that caused him damage in terms of employment opportunities within the banking industry.
Mr Lewis said the chief executive role was particularly important in terms of the relationship between the bank and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) – which has a statutory obligation to satisfy itself that a chief executive of a registered bank trading in New Zealand was a fit and proper person for the role.
Mr Lewis pleaded that he was the chief executive of J P Morgan Chase Bank in New Zealand during his tenure there and was approved by the RBNZ as a fit and proper person.
J P Morgan said it did not provide references, but issued certificates of service only, and that was apparent in the settlement agreement with Mr Lewis.
ERA member James Crichton said it could not take Mr Lewis’s claim further because there was no evidence J P Morgan Chase had breached the settlement agreement.
Even if it was, Mr Crichton said the ERA had no jurisdiction to grant damages.
The only remedy for breaches of settlement agreements was the remedy of compliance – requiring the erring party to complete its part of the bargain.
Mr Lewis is now working at the Bank of New Zealand as head of working capital solutions for BNZ Partners.