City trader tells court of 83 instances of alleged bullying and racial harassment

A City trader who is locked in a legal battle after resigning from a job has filed court papers in Dubai alleging he was subjected to 83 instances of “bullying, harassment and racial discrimination” over three years.

Opeyemi Olayanju, 26, quit the City broker TP ICAP in December last year, alleging constructive dismissal because of “harassment, bullying and discrimination” at the firm in London.

He claims he has since been offered employment at a rival brokerage firm in Dubai but has been prevented from taking the role after an injunction was granted to TP ICAP in the United Arab Emirates courts in March.

TP ICAP denies racism and said: “It is unfortunately not unusual for brokers to seek to avoid their [contractual] obligations by making unfounded allegations of constructive dismissal.”

In court proceedings in Dubai to determine whether or not Olayanju can take up the new role, the trader’s evidence includes an appendix detailing 83 examples of alleged harassment, including instances he claims were racist, according to exchanges made during an open court hearing in August.

The filing reveals for the first time details of the frequency of the alleged harassment. Olayanju’s court papers add that the alleged abuse caused Olayanju’s health “to suffer as a consequence”.

The appendix detailing the instances is not currently public, but the trader has previously spoken about how he and another ​b​lack colleague were referred to as “the Africans,” and how Olayanju was nicknamed “n-Ope” or “n-Opy” in what he interpreted as a racist slur.

Olayanju’s papers also contain the conclusion of a formal grievance he filed last November, in which TP ICAP said: “It is apparent from the investigation that the working environment on the desk was volatile and that foul language was often used … it is likely you were subjected on occasion to derogatory comments, primarily by [two managers] … such treatment is wholly inappropriate and is not in keeping with the company’s values and code of conduct.”

However, the investigation concluded: “On occasion you may have been subjected to derogatory comments on the desk although I do not find any evidence this was related to your race.”

Prior to Olayanju outlining the 83 instances of alleged harassment, TP ICAP filed court papers saying his claims of bullying and racism were “grossly unparticularised” and made “without any proper particulars”. The papers added: “TP ICAP cannot respond to so vague and general a case, save by general denial.”

The firm declined to respond to the Guardian’s questions about Olayanju’s specific allegations, saying it would be inappropriate.

It said: “TP ICAP denies all allegations of racial discrimination and constructive dismissal in the strongest terms. TP ICAP is committed to promoting equality and diversity as part of our continuous efforts to build a positive, inclusive and meritocratic culture. Our code of conduct clearly sets out the principles and standards of behaviour we expect from all our employees.

“With regard to the alleged working environment on the emerging markets desk at TP ICAP, any issues that arose last year have been fully addressed and steps have been taken to ensure a positive working environment.”

A hearing on whether Olayanju can take up his new role is set for December in Dubai.

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