The third largest accounting firm in the world is facing a sexual harassment claim after a partner said her original complaint was not handled appropriately. Since the complaint has been launched, Ernst & Young has said it will investigate the matter further as they “take all allegations of sexual harassment seriously.”
Jessica Casucci explains that a male partner had lifted her up and sexually harassed her at a conference in Orlando back in 2015. The situation was witnessed by other senior people at the firm, however, Casucci says no one did anything to stop him. The complaint lodge to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in New York said that the tax firm failed to respond to the claim appropriately, as there was hardly anything done to discipline the partner.
“In this day and age, when a woman shows the courage to stand up and complain about physical sexual harassment at work, one would expect her complaint to be treated with the utmost care and urgency,” said her attorney Michael Willemin to the Financial Times.
As it was not, Casucci has felt that her progression has suffered after she had to distance herself from the partner, keeping her from projects and forcing her to ‘reinvent her career’.
A similar sexual harassment situation unfolded in EY’s Australia office in March and resulted in a partner leaving the firm. Staff are disappointed with the firm’s response to this incident, saying that human resources ordered the woman who had filed the complaint to do an online course in appropriate workplace behaviour. The firm would not say how the senior manager was punished, though the man has since left the firm.
These claims are not new in the finance industry, and many young women have said that they are objectified and discriminated against. According to Australian Human Rights Commission, sexual harassment affects one in five women in the workplace at some time, proving that advances in workplace equality still have a long way to go before they reach true fairness.