By Bill Singer
In a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in May 2011, Claimant Rosales asserted among other causes of action: sexual discrimination and harassment, hostile work environment, and unjust termination. Claimant sought at least $4 million in compensatory damages, $2 million in punitive damages, an expungement of her Form U5, costs, and fees. In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Between Jeannette Rosales, Claimant, vs. Santander Securities, Respondent (FINRA Arbitration 11-02033, August 30, 2012).
Respondent Santander generally denied the allegations and asserted various affirmative defenses.
Decision: The FINRA Arbitration Panel concluded that the cumulative testimony “did not indicate a serious violation of company policy warranting termination for cause; nor was a warning given as required by the Policy Manual. Accordingly, Respondent is liable for violation of Puerto Rico Act 80 and shall pay to Claimant compensatory damages in the amount of $46,146.48, pre-judgment interest specifically excluded.”
Side Bar: “Puerto Rico Act 80 is the ‘Wrongful Termination Law,” which provides, among other things, that covered employees who are discharged without just cause are entitled to statutory remedies. Such remedies may include up to two months salary for the first five years of employment; three months salary thereafter up to 15 years of employment; and, thereafter, six months salary. Additional compensation of one week, two weeks, and three weeks salary for each year of service up to 5, 15, and in excess of 15 respectively is provided.
Having found evidence of defamation, the FINRA Arbitration Panel recommended the expungement of the Termination Explanation from Section 3 of Claimant’s Form U5, filed on June 7, 2010, to “Without Just Cause” but that the Reason For Termination will remain as “Discharged.”