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"I was let go without warning and the bank disguised it as underperformance"

I work for a US investment bank that says it's not making layoffs. Despite this, I have been let go.

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The bank says it's letting me go due to poor performance, but this is not true. I've worked at this bank for nearly a decade and until late last year, none of my reviews were ever less than glowing. But in November 2023, I was suddenly given a formal performance warning with no context or reason.


I've never been told that I'm doing anything incorrectly. I've never been late with work, and my immediate manager has never raised any issues. Yet, I was suddenly hit with a "doesn't meet expectations" grade in my review. 

I asked HR for advice. They said they investigated, but were unable to help. Now I am being told that my job will disappear in the next few months. The entire thing seems peculiar and crazy: I am mid-way through an 18-month project and my immediate manager has said she has no capacity to take on my work, that she has no issues with my performance and that she doesn't want me to go.

What should I do? What can I do? I would appreciate advice.

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AUTHORAthena Dawson Insider Comment
  • Po
    18 April 2024

    I was working for a bank when out of the blue I was rated 'needs improvement'. This was totally unjustified and I had never had feedback like this is in my working life!

    Next thing I know I am in consultation for redundancy, before being told to log off and that was that, a month later.

    It is definitely a tactic banks are using as I have also heard that this has happened to someone else at a different bank, where they were told they were underperforming.

    Grateful I received redundant but the way I was treated was shocking...

  • Gl
    Globe spoiler
    17 April 2024

    This is the "dirty" trick that is used a lot to avoid further issues.... They get rid of you to use your salary as an extra bonus to top up the salary of the one who was involved in getting rid of you. They tought that I am " retarded" as I kept quiet, and then Karma paid off...that person became extremely ill, due to the pressure involved...

    HR is not there to protect you, they are interested in protecting the company because they have a salary too, so they absolutely dont care about you.... ( not sure if HR is genuinely a productive dept. like the sell/ buy side..)

    Legal advice provided and mentioned as you are entitled too. Dont trust them. They are all in the same bucket. They get paid by the bank (to cover up the spillage..), whether they pay taxes or not, they are all from the same " membership club" ...

    Wish you all the best and that you get the best role you deserve. Dont give up!

  • je
    16 April 2024

    Something similar happened to me at a US Bank . I had worked hard, helped with their business contingency plans involving developing an off site team in Belfast. Then out of the blues, I was told I was under performance despite covering the job for 2 people for a 3 month period as my colleague had gone off sick.

    I knew what they were up to and refused the false & negative feedback and asked for this to be on record that I rejected the feedback. They did everything to get me fired so that I would not be paid the redundancy that I was due.

    Eventually I left. The thing I regret though is not considering other portions with the firm. Had I done so perhaps it would have prevented me from being out of the industry

    My suggestion is that you look to see if other areas of the firm are hiring whilst looking for other external roles - it's always easier to move internally than to get a job from the outside except you have solid industry contacts.

    Failing that and your role is made redundant, seek independent legal advice.

    It's better to get your own lawyer than use the one recommended by the bank as they are likely to act in the interest of the bank .The reason for this is that you may be want to negotiate for a higher redundancy payment. Banks would give you a figure but may decide to up the amount if they feel there might be in the wrong & have a case to answer.

    Since they usually don't want to be involved in any prolonged litigation, they usually add some additional amount in exchange of you signing a confidentiality agreement not to sue / reveal the terms of settlement.

    Save / make a copy all useful email correspondence/ appraisal review that u feel may help your case whilst you are still within employment as you would not have access to any of these once your time at the bank comes to an end.

    I hope this helps

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