It’s no secret that there’s something about trading that just makes you want to dance your ass off. You’re sitting there, buying, selling, harassing a Bloomberg help desk associate when all of a sudden, you get that urge, that stirring, down in your plums. You try to suppress it but you can’t. It’s an itch you need to scratch. A little foot tapping and finger snapping isn’t enough. The only thing that will satisfy this craving is you, jumping up on your desk and shaking it.
At some of the tri-state area’s more cutting-edge firms, this biological need has not only been acknowledged but accepted and incorporated into the trading day. In fact, at one of the industry’s most successful hedge funds, the trading floor is equipped with disco balls that descend from the ceiling when they sense a certain level of hip gyrations, while the rest of the lights dim and house music starts blasting, like bham bham bhamb and boom boom boom. It’s also not unusual to see a bunch of traders shimmying down the floor like gay chorus line circa 3PM and while I shouldn’t tell you this, has long thought to be the secret to this firm’s success.
Having said all that, if dancing is not an institutionalized thing at your place of business, it can catch some employees off guard and not in a good way. Animal Marcus Bolton knows what we’re talking about.
A British chief executive and his company are being sued for $20million (£12.8m) after a tango dance on the trading floor allegedly led to the sexual assault of a 27-year-old assistant. Marcus Bolton, 45, the head of Tullett Prebon Americas Corp, the leading New York brokers, is accused of manhandling Jessica Franqui, leaving her ‘violated’ and ‘humiliated’. The clerk claims she was grabbed by an ‘intoxicated’ Mr Bolton without her permission, who began spinning her around and dipped her so his face was close to his.
According to a writ filed by lawyers acting for Miss Franqui, as she tried to struggle free, Mr Bolton let go of her hands and she fell to the floor, he then restrained her and allegedly stood forcefully on her right breast. Miss Franqui, the only woman on the trading floor at the time of the incident, claims it was with ‘force enough to cause significant pain and shortness of breath’. She then alleges she got to her feet and said:’I can’t believe you were standing on my chest.’ The writ then claims: ‘In a dismissive tone, Bolton, replied words to the effect of, “Oh, come on now, it’s alright, they [her breasts] are big and you probably didn’t even feel it [his foot]”.’ It is claimed the ‘intentional, wrongful and offensive bodily contact’ with Miss Franqui, an administrative clerk in the foreign exchange team, amounted to ‘sexual battery’ and his conduct was ‘so vile and shocking that it warrants an award of punitive damages’. He is also accused of being ‘sexually motivated, hostile, humiliating towards women in general‘. It also claims on previous occasions Mr Bolton ‘exhibited propensities to become intoxicated while at work; harass, sexually assault and/or assault others; and/or engage in inappropriate behavior at the workplace’.
Oh, and apparently the dancing and dipping was all captured on tape.