Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The 222,222,222.22 euro Error


A recent labour relations tribunal involving a German bank, raised some eyebrows when the nature of the hearing, received some media attention.  It centred around a banking supervisor who contested her dismissal on the bases that she deemed it to be unfair, after having failed to spot an error made by one of her subordinates.

The net result of the typo in question, was a multi-million euro error, after a banking clerk somehow turned a 62.40 euro transfer from a pensioner’s account, into a 222,222,222.22 euro (£189 million) transaction.

There is of course a big difference in both appearance and value, when comparing 62.40 to a number containing a long string of twos so how does one make a mistake of this nature?

It was revealed that the clerk had fallen asleep at the keyboard, holding the “2” key down, while effecting the transaction.

The bank which has not been named, had accused the supervisor of deliberately deceiving her superiors by failing to check transfer documents and simply waving them through.

The supervisor, a 48-year-old woman, noted that on the day when the mistake was made, she had examined over 800 documents. Most of them were checked in under two seconds.

In their ruling, the regional labour court in Hessen Germany, stated that the supervisor should have received a warning rather than dismissal.  They noted that although it was a “terrible mistake”, there was no evidence to suggest that she sought to cause deliberate harm to her employer and she should therefore be reinstated.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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