'No one is protected': Deloitte says it fired 20 partners in recent years over sexual misconduct

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  • Deloitte says it has fired 20 UK partners in the past four years over sexual harassment and bullying.
  • #MeToo has become increasingly prevalent in the financial world, with firms said to be taking a tougher stance on harassment.

The accountancy firm Deloitte says it fired about 20 partners in the UK in the past four years over behaviour including sexual harassment and bullying.

Separately, seven KPMG partners have left after “inappropriate behaviour.” Another of the so-called Big Four accountancy firms, PwC, said it had sacked five partners over the past three years for similar inappropriate behaviour.

Deloitte’s CEO, David Sproul, told the Financial Times: “We will fire people for any inappropriate behaviour. No one is protected.”

The reveal comes as the #MeToo movement gains ground in the financial world after exposing allegations of misconduct in Hollywood and other workplaces. Partners at Deloitte, who earn about £832,000 a year ($US1 million), thought it was appropriate to proposition younger staff members at bars, Sproul said.

“You can’t meet someone more junior to you in a bar on a Friday evening after work and assume she or he is attracted to you [and is seeking] a one-night stand,” he said. “You just can’t do it. Some people definitely would have to have that explained to them. So we’ve been very clear on what is acceptable in our firm.”

Deloitte, which had UK revenue of £3.6 billion in the past financial year, has about 1,000 partners.

On Wall Street, Bloomberg recently reported that #MeToo had led some financial workers to adopt the so-called Pence rule and avoid women completely. Skipping dinners, avoiding flights together, and even booking hotel rooms on different floors have been reported as ways in which men have tried to avoid female colleagues. That could lead to a different problem: a type of employment discrimination.

Earlier this year the Financial Conduct Authority suggested that #MeToo would help women in finance.

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