Rodney Stroud said the mistreatment started after he took roughly three months off of work when his gastroparesis worsened. The incurable, lifelong condition affects the nerves lining the stomach and causes severe malfunction of stomach muscles and the intestines, disrupting the digestive system, according to Stroud’s Nov. 28 court complaint.
Stroud said he had risen quickly through the ranks at HSBC before he needed to use Family and Medical Leave Act leave to deal with his disability. He started as a branch relationship banker at the bank’s City Hall branch in June 2016 and was a vice president premier relationship manager at its Columbus Circle location when the discrimination began and his HSBC career came to a halt.
Vice President Cluster Branch Manager Ariola Turdui hounded him about his absence, despite his record of outstanding performance, Stroud says. When he returned from leave, he says, Turdui asked him “how was your vacation?”
He also learned from a colleague that Turdui had been “very upset” that he took leave, said he was “full of shit,” and vowed to do whatever she could to get him fired, Stroud says.
Turdui achieved that objective by placing Stroud on a performance improvement plan on the day he returned from leave and making an issue out of routine customer complaints, according to the lawsuit. Most of those complaints occurred before Stroud was transferred to Columbus Circle. And they were unfounded, as evidenced by his strong performance review during the period when they were lodged and orignally investigated, Stroud says.
He nevertheless was placed on administrative leave and then fired, Stroud says. His termination and other mistreatment amounts to discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the FMLA, and New York state and city law, he tells the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
HSBC told Bloomberg Law in a Nov. 29 email that it had “no comment at this time” on the lawsuit.
Derek Smith Law Group PLLC represents Stroud. No attorney has filed an appearance yet for HSBC.
The case is Stroud v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., S.D.N.Y., No. 1:18-cv-11113, complaint filed 11/28/18.
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(Updated with additional reporting)