Clash of Employee and Company Actions
Recently, one of the top-ranking financial advisers at the wealth and investment management division of Bank of America, James Iannazzo, was fired and arrested. That happened after he berated a few smoothie shop employees, threw a drink at them, tried to force his way into the shop’s employees-only area, and called one of the employees a “fucking immigrant”. The situation developed in a Robeks smoothie franchise in Fairfield, Connecticut, about an hour after Iannazzo purchased his drink and left without causing any incidents.
A recently deleted video that went viral on social media platforms showed Iannazzo screaming at the shop’s employees, claiming that he wanted to talk to whoever made his drink, using obscene language, and calling the employees “ignorant high school kids”. According to the video, one of the employees told the former financial adviser to call the corporate department of the franchise, and he responds with more profanities while throwing a drink at the employee. Later in the video, Iannazzo is shown calling the same employee an “immigrant loser” and other profanities, and then attempting to force entry into an employee-only area of the shop. A worker is also shown trying to hold Iannazzo against the door to the employees’ section.
Cause of Incident
According to the police report from the situation, Iannazzo had gone back to the smoothie shop because when he ordered his original drink, he asked for a smoothie without peanut butter, because his son was allergic to it. However, his son ended up having an allergic reaction to the drink and was taken to the hospital. The employees of the smoothie shop told the police officers that the former financial adviser did ask for the drink to be without any peanuts, but had never mentioned any allergies. After the incident that appeared on social media, Iannazzo was arrested and charged with intimidation based on bias or bigotry, as well as on breach of peace and criminal trespassing.
AdvisorHub has stated that Iannazzo has been working for the investment and wealth management company Merrill Lynch for over 26 years, and was also named as one of the best wealth management advisors in Connecticut by Forbes. In a statement released after the situation, the company said that Iannazzo was fired because Merrill Lynch doesn’t tolerate this type of behavior. A spokesperson for the investment and wealth management company stated that Merrill Lynch immediately investigated the situation and took action, which is why Iannazzo wasn’t employed at the company any longer.
In a statement for AdvisorHub, Iannazzo said that he would be apologizing both to the Smoothie shop staff and the company. Meanwhile, his lawyer stated that he was regretting his actions recorded in the video, which were out of character. He’s due to appear in court in February, after being arrested following the incident. Merrill Lynch took the right steps in addressing the situation involving Iannazzo, by investigating what happened and subsequently letting go of the employee.