Michael Henry, a former vice president and municipal bond research analyst with PaineWebber in New York City, won $214,000 in a wrongful termination case decided by an NASD arbitration panel Sept. 18, 1997.
In addition to wrongful termination, Henry accused the firm of "discrimination, defamation, retaliation for whistle-blowing and intentional infliction of emotional distress," according to the case summary, which was recently released.
Henry alleged that his former supervisor, James Skyrm, a senior vice president and manager of the municipal bond department, "wanted him to approve bonds that were not consistent with the rules of the SEC," the case document states. Henry also claimed that when he refused, Skyrm started harassing him, which eventually led to Henry going on short-term disability leave. Before returning to work, Henry alleged that he tried to transfer to another division, but Skyrm blocked him from doing so. Before his disability expired, Henry said he attempted to return to work, but Skyrm fired him on Aug. 22, 1994, because of "job abandonment," the case summary states.
PaineWebber denied Henry's allegations in the claim, according to the case document.
Arbitrators, however, sided with Henry, awarding him $160,000 in compensatory damages and $54,000 in attorneys' fees. The panel also ordered PaineWebber to amend Henry's U-5 form, removing any mention of "job abandonment."
A PaineWebber spokesperson says, "We felt the case was completely without merit. However, we took at least some satisfaction in the fact that the panel awarded only 7% of damages sought." The firm would offer no other comment.
Henry's attorney, Peggy Brady, with Silverstein Langer Lipner & Newburgh in New York City, declined to comment on the case.
Several PaineWebber brokers contacted were unfamiliar with Henry's former role at the firm. Testimony and exhibits in the case were unavailable since unlike court proceedings, the NASD arbitration process is not public. The NASD also forbids its arbitrators to comment on cases.
Whether Henry still works in the industry is unknown. Neither the NASDR nor the state of New York could locate Henry on the CRD system. The CRD shows that Skyrm left the firm in November 1995 and no longer works in the industry.