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London insurance company fined £1m for bullying and sexual harassment

The interior of Lloyd’s of London, the centuries-old insurance market, is pictured in central London April 27, 2016.

Leon Neal | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — Lloyd’s of London, the British insurance giant, has fined one of its member firms a record £1.05 million ($1.38 million) for misconduct, including allowing a inappropriate “boys night out” every year for several years.

Lloyd’s said in a notice of censure, published on Wednesday, that its union member company Atrium Underwriters had accepted three charges of “harmful conduct”.

One of the charges was of having “sanctioned and tolerated for several years until 2018 an annual ‘Boys’ Night Out’ during which certain male members of staff (including two senior executives in management positions) engaged in unprofessional activities and inappropriate conduct.”

This included “initiation games, heavy drinking, and inappropriate and sexualized comments about female colleagues”.

“No adequate action has been taken”

Lloyd’s also accused Atrium of having failed to inform the insurer of the facts relating to the fault of one of its employees, referred to in the document as “Employee A”.

Additionally, the notice stated that Employee A’s conduct was well known to Atrium, “but no adequate action has been taken to address it.”

“Employee A’s behavior included a systematic campaign of intimidation against a junior employee over several years,” Lloyd’s said, adding that Atrium failed to protect the junior member of staff once he became aware bullying.

Lloyd’s said Atrium did not acknowledge or dispute Employee A’s behavior, “motivated in part by senior management’s desire to protect Atrium from bad publicity.”

The employee who complained about Employee A was also instructed not to speak about Atrium’s investigation into the misconduct or the allegations made.

The notice stated that because Atrium had settled these proceedings at the ‘first opportunity’, the Lloyd’s Enforcement Board had agreed to a 30% discount on the fine, which would otherwise have been £1.5 million. Even so, Lloyd’s said in a separate statement it was still the largest fine ever imposed in its 336-year history.

In addition to the fine, Atrium agreed to pay £562,713.50 in costs to Lloyd’s.

Lloyd’s CEO John Neal said the company was “deeply disappointed by the behavior highlighted by this case, and I want to make it clear that discrimination, harassment and bullying have no place at Lloyd’s”.

He said all Lloyd’s employees should “expect to work in a culture where they feel safe, valued and respected”.

An independent survey of ‘Lloyd’s Market’ workers, published in September 2019, found that 8% had witnessed sexual harassment in the past year, but only 45% said they felt comfortable sharing their concerns.

The investigation was commissioned by Lloyd’s following reports of sexual harassment within the company. It also revealed that 22% of respondents had seen members of their organization turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior.

London insurance company fined £1m for bullying and sexual harassment

Source link London insurance company fined £1m for bullying and sexual harassment

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