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
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
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

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Recruitment Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week