Sex pest controversy results in apology from Grant Thornton

30 March 2018 - 12:59 By Timeslive
Image: PaylessImages

The Grant Thornton Johannesburg firm announced on Friday that it has cut all ties with a former director accused of making sexual advances towards a female employee‚ who alleged he had also touched her inappropriately in the workplace.

Speaking to the Eusebius McKaiser show earlier this month‚ the female employee said the abuse has left her scared and humiliated.

She said her contract was not renewed after she laid a complaint.

“I really had to hold back the tears. I was determined not to cry. At one point in the conversation‚ I said this is going to become a ‘he said‚ she said’ situation. I was also encouraged not to take it further‚” she told the radio talkshow host.

Paul Badrick‚ CEO‚ Grant Thornton Johannesburg‚ said on Friday the firm has undertaken a review of the way it have handled the sexual harassment allegations.

"On behalf of Grant Thornton Johannesburg‚ I would like to apologise to the two former employees involved . . . I would like to speak to both of them directly to convey my regrets and those of all their colleagues.

"In addition‚ it was a mistake for us to allow the accused former director to perform limited services with clients in which he was personally involved after he had left the firm.

"Grant Thornton Johannesburg has cut all ties with this former director."

Badrick said he had also decided to "remove this matter from line management within our firm".

"The grievances and the culture of Grant Thornton Johannesburg need to be investigated by independent third parties. Grant Thornton International will also investigate the allegations and our firm’s response."

Badrick said in addition‚ he would welcome an investigation by the Commission for Gender Equality.

"Grant Thornton has a zero-tolerance attitude to any form of harassment.

"We remain committed to providing our people with a safe place to work and will not tolerate behaviour counter to our values or what our people‚ our clients and society expect.

"We have reminded our staff of the firm’s sexual harassment policy which is available to everybody‚ and the channels available for bringing concerns to our attention. We have an employee well-being programme and will continue to assess the need for any additional independent support."