“From your friends at FXCM”: X-rated package finally makes workplace harassment case budge

Maria Nikolova

A parcel that is offensive to accepted standards of decency has finally led to a reaction from the Court in a workplace harassment lawsuit targeting FXCM.

Warning: this article contains elements that some readers may find disturbing.

A workplace harassment lawsuit that has been pending before the New York Southern District Court for more than three years is finally set to budge, following a rather tasteless event.

The lawsuit is brought by Alon Nachmany, a former employee of FXCM Inc, now known as Global Brokerage Inc (OTCMKTS:GLBR). Nachmany claims that, during his tenure at FXCM, he was subjected to a multitude of demeaning and derogatory comments and actions that specifically attacked his national origin, religion, sex, as well as constantly being subjected to harassing behavior that was offensive. On January 12, 2016, Alon Nachmany filed a Complaint against the defendants – FXCM Inc, Ryan Leonard, and Seth Lyons. On April 14, 2016, the defendants moved to dismiss and strike. That motion is still pending before the New York Southern District Court.

There have been several requests by the plaintiff for an update on the matter but the Court remained silent. This, however, changed earlier in September, as Judge Deborah A. Batts finally scheduled Oral argument on Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Complaint, In Part, and to Strike Certain Allegations and Exhibits. The argument is scheduled for October 16, 2019. At the hearing, other matters raised by the parties will also be discussed.

The order by the Judge was issued shortly after Nachmany and FXCM filed documents with the Court discussing a rather awkward event.

On August 22, 2019, Nachmany received a package at his residence in a brown-paper wrapping with an oversized stamp on it reading “FONDLE WITH CARE”. Inside said package, there was an approximately three-foot cardboard cutout of a male reproductive organ from a company by the name of “Shipadick” whose tagline is “Send a giant cardboard dick to anyone!”. On the back of the male appendage was a note that reads: “From your friends at FXCM”.

The plaintiff requested a leave to file supplemental pleading to include the said event.

In response, the counsel for FXCM, Inc., Ryan Leonard and Seth Lyons, objected to the accusations made regarding the defendants. The defendants insist the package was not sent by them, nor do they have any knowledge or information regarding the package, its derivation or its contents.

The defendants argue they take this matter very seriously, and are outraged that anyone would have used FXCM’s name – clearly, without FXCM’s knowledge or authorization – in sending this inappropriate package.

The counsel for the defendants notes that the package could have just as easily come from any number of other sources, such as: a disgruntled former employee seeking to damage FXCM’s reputation; industry competitors aware of this lawsuit and seeking to generate controversy; friends or acquaintances of the plaintiff seeking to play a sophomoric joke on him; or even Plaintiff himself in an effort to attract the Court’s attention (as Plaintiff has written to the Court four times since Defendants’ motion to dismiss was filed reminding the Court of the pending motion).

From July 2, 2012, to September 2, 2014, Nachmany was employed by FXCM as a Systems Engineer. During all relevant times, Seth Lyons worked at FXCM as a Senior Systems Engineer. At all relevant times in this matter, Ryan Leonard worked at FXCM as Director of Productions Engineering and subsequently Chief Information Officer.

According to the allegations, Leonard and Lyons mocked Nachmany during a period of tumult in the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict, when rockets were being launched in the Israeli territory.

Further, Leonard posted a derogatory message on the white board that was centrally located in FXCM’s space IT Department. The message read: “Alon is a dick. Why won’t he shut the fuck up? That is all asshole.” This posting remained for nearly two months in the face of Nachmany’s requests for the posting to be removed.

Plaintiff was integral in FXCM maintaining its operational capabilities during Super Storm Sandy. With the storm bearing down on New York, FXCM closed its doors on Monday, October 29, 2012, at 8pm, and Nachmany was instructed to continue to work from his home. However, due to the entire system losing connectivity, Lyons told Nachmany, via phone, to return to the office. Despite the peril to his health, Nachmany tried to reach FXCM’s office. Nachmany actually traversed several blocks on foot, literally holding on to street signs to avoid being blown away.

Upon arriving at the office, the plaintiff attempted to enter the building but could not enter because the lobby was flooded. The next morning, at around 9am, Nachmany went back to the office, again at the instruction of Lyons. However, he could not access FXCM’s office.

For the next several months, Nachmany was integral in setting up FXCM’s Data Center in New Jersey as FXCM’s temporary headquarters.

One week after a meeting between Eduard Yusupov, Leonard and Nachmany, on September 2, 2014, Nachmany’s employment contract with FXCM was terminated.

The plaintiff is seeking, inter alia, compensatory damages in the amount of $400,000.

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