Glencore trader fired for 'serious misconduct' smashed a bottle of wine during business dinner

Andrew Kearns is suing the mining giant for wrongful dismissal

An oil trader accused of being an alcoholic and sacked for missing meetings picked up a bottle of wine and deliberately smashed it at a business dinner, the High Court heard today.

Andrew Kearns, who is suing for wrongful dismissal, was employed by Glencore UK from January 2009 until October 2010 and earned six-figure bonuses as well as his £140,000-a-year salary.

But the 38-year-old, from Rainham in Kent, was fired on the spot for serious misconduct after he failed to turn up for work on a business trip to Singapore.

The firm, which is contesting the action, says he missed critical appointments in the morning, at lunchtime and in the afternoon on October 11 - without an explanation - and that it was the latest in a string of similar alcohol-related incidents.

He is also said to have been late or absent from work on at least 64 separate occasions in less than two years.

Today the court heard from Yannick Fedele, then head of the London fuel oil desk and now the firm’s worldwide head of fuel oil, about an incident at a global meeting in February 2009 when Mr Kearns dropped a bottle of wine after being asked by another senior member of staff to pour a glass.

In a statement, he said: “The claimant reacted very strangely. He held out a bottle and then dropped it on the floor as if to say ‘well if you want some wine just take it or get it yourself’. That was certainly my impression, it was not an accident...I remember feeling quite shocked and embarrassed and I think others were too.

“It was quite an intimate meeting and the claimant had been invited to meet new colleagues and his new boss for the first time so I viewed it as disrespectful.”

He also revealed Mr Kearns would “fight and was very aggressive” with colleagues in Singapore and said he became concerned soon after he started that his behaviour was the result of a drinking problem.

“I felt this was causing him to be late at work and to become very aggressive with people if they disagreed with him,” he added. “To me it was clear when the claimant was hung over because he always had red eyes and trembled a lot.”

Mr Fedele also referred to a conversation in which he says Mr Kearns admitted drinking a lot on his own while his family were sleeping and so much to the point he could not remember anything the next day.

He said the events in Singapore that ultimately triggered Mr Kearns’ dismissal were the “last straw”.

Mr Kearns agrees he stayed out until 4.30am with colleagues he had been asked to take out for drinks on the date in question but claims he did not know about any business meetings later that day which required his compulsory attendance.

His counsel Ahmed Miah has branded the dismissal a “mockery” and the claimant said in evidence yesterday that anything was allowed provided traders were making money. He also accused Glencore of trying to make him look like a “wanton alcoholic” when he was working hard to entertain clients.

The trial continues.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - City, London

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence