Accusations of violence and intimidation after mass exodus at Calgary oil brokerage

When two-thirds of brokers pulled out, it caused the Canadian oil market to cool down

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When two-thirds of brokers at a prominent Calgary oil company quit without explanation over the Easter holiday, mass immigration cooled the Canadian oil market.

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Now, a lawsuit against NE2 Group claims it provided a window into life there in the years and months leading up to the withdrawal. Days after the resignations were filed, the lawsuit paints a picture of a toxic environment more reminiscent of the legendary early days of oil trading than the corporate culture of modern Calgary. It alleges that NE2’s president and owner, Timothy Jean, physically and verbally abused both employees and customers in incidents spanning five years and accused him of three incidents of sexual harassment. It also alleges that he routinely referred to employees as “useless,” “replaceable,” and “stupid,” as well as a variety of profanity-laden expressions.

After weeks of strikes, the resignations are still weighing on the Canadian oil market. The company has historically played an important role in setting prices, with its brokers handling enough volume to set benchmark prices for many Canadian grades of crude. These prices, in turn, support the major futures contracts. In the days following the exodus, traders said they began to worry that the company didn’t have the manpower to ensure price accuracy and pulled out at least one CME contract used to hedge heavy crude. The open interest on this contract has not yet been recovered.

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The company said in a statement that NE2, which has yet to file a statement of defense with the court, “takes these allegations seriously and expects conduct consistent with its workplace policy.” “As we explore the allegations in this allegation, we expect additional facts to be revealed. NE2 will address these allegations openly and transparently through court proceedings.” The company did not immediately respond to questions about the market’s effects on the resignations.

Gunn could not be reached for comment through the NE2 office in Calgary and did not respond to emails and on LinkedIn.

The lawsuit was filed by Mark Bennett, NE2, a former vice president of energy for North America, who alleged he was wrongfully fired in February after raising concerns about workplace harassment, “one-sided changes to employee compensation” and an “ongoing toxic work environment.” , according to the lawsuit. Bennett, who has worked for the company since 2013 and is seeking damages in the millions, declined to comment.

Two months after Bennett’s firing, six brokers submitted letters of resignation, according to people familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak publicly. This is equivalent to two-thirds of the brokerage office in Calgary. The people said the reasons for immigration were generally in line with the details provided in Bennett’s lawsuit and were not coordinated. The resignations, which were all on or near the Easter holiday, coincided with the annual bonus payment after an exceptionally profitable year for the company, People said.

Bloomberg

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