Andrew Balgarnie, the former head of Human Resources for Eurasian Natural Resources Corp, Kazakhstan’s natural resource producer was sued by ENRC today for allegedly giving himself an unapproved 100,000 pound raise while he was head of HR at ENRC. This suit comes as a counter-claim to Balgarnie’s suit claiming “wrongful dismissal” and that he’s owed “310,000 pounds in back pay and bonuses.”
There are statements of denial on both sides at this time, but I think we can all agree that the facts speak for themselves. ENRC said it is seeking the return of 74,000 pounds which were paid out to Balgarnie as a result of a pay-raise not approved by CEO Felix Vulis. While all of these allegations are yet to be brought to court, it’s hard to deny that if what ENRC claims has any truth to it, Andrew Balgarnie operated in a manner which was beyond unethical, burgeoning on the illegal.
Whether or not a raise or bonus is approved by a CEO, it is hard for the general public to accept six-figure hand-outs going to those who need it the least. Not to mention the fact that this raise was allegedly NOT approved by the CEO, which goes against the company itself and its shareholders, which is where Balgarnie began treading dangerously close to illegal waters. As ENRC said in court papers filed Dec. 22, Balgarnie “is an individual who appears to operate on the basis that wrongdoing on the part of a senior executive is acceptable so long as he can get away with it.” It looks as if Balgarnie’s time “getting away with it” is about to come to an unceremonious halt.
Hopefully most of you out there in the everyday HR world are as disgusted as I am by this grossly negligent abuse of power. It’s our job as Human Resource professionals to protect both our company and our employees, not to make irrational, self-serving decisions that put both at risk. No matter what ends up happening with this civil-suit, I can at least take solace in the fact that Andrew Balgarnie no longer holds a position in Human Resources, and hopefully never will again.