Employees accused of cutting off co-worker’s ponytail, upskirting

by HRD07 Sep 2017
Workplace bullying, sexist conduct, upskirting, and an employee cutting off the ponytail of a fellow staffer, are just some of the allegations that have been raised against former Macquarie Bank staff.

Macquarie is also accused of fostering predatory behaviour and not taking appropriate disciplinary action.

The allegations were raised in a 26-page letter by Macpherson Kelley Lawyers sent last week to Macquarie and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

The culture led to a workplace defined by behaviour such as “rampant drug taking leading to reckless trading after lunches, sexist and chauvinistic behaviour including an adviser engaging in predatory behaviour towards a female staff member and Macquarie choosing not to terminate that adviser because of the amount of commission the adviser earned", the letter reads.

In an alleged incident in 2013, a stockbroker used scissors to cut off a desk assistant’s ponytail then put the hair on her desk, right in front of her.

“She was so shocked she didn’t say anything, and really only started talking about it at the Christmas party about a month later,” according to the source.

Another former employee said “everyone was laughing about it, it was just a funny story to them”.

“It was difficult to be a woman there and maintain a sense of respect. Particularly when no one had your back,” said the worker.

In a statement, Macquarie said the serious and inappropriate workplace behaviour by former un-named Macquarie staff “once again pertains to an unrelated matter being pursued by class action lawyers Macpherson Kelley”.

“The allegations made by the lawyers, which appear to be an attempt to solicit clients, lack any credible evidence or source,” said the statement.

“Importantly, we note that although this will be the fourth article on this matter, no litigation against Macquarie has commenced.”

In another incident, according to the report in Fairfax Media, a man allegedly took photos of a colleague under her desk.

The statement from Macquarie added that if Macpherson Kelley is unable to substantiate any of these assertions or show any relevance to the allegations it is pursuing, it raises real questions about the firm’s compliance with the Solicitors’ Conduct Rules.

“None of the workplace behaviour allegations raised by Fairfax involve current staff,” added the statement.

“The allegations were either never previously put to Macquarie, or those that were made were reviewed and appropriate action taken.

“Macquarie treats all allegations of inappropriate or illegal behaviour with the utmost seriousness.”

Macquarie overhauled its retail advisory business following the Enforceable Undertaking with ASIC from 2013.

This included appointing a new management team, new systems, controls and training and substantial financial investment, according to Macquarie.

Related stories:
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Casual employees “put up and shut up” about workplace bullying: Study
How to deal with bullying complaints made during disciplinary proceedings
 

COMMENTS

  • by Bernie Althofer 7/09/2017 12:26:56 PM

    Some years ago, the issue of 'tie cutting' was raised in a discussion about a specific manager in an organisation. According to the discussion, the manager would take to a new tie with a pair of scissors. Staff were powerless to speak up for fear of victimisation so everyone just treated the tie cutting as 1. if you wore a new tie or one with sentimental value e.g. present for Father's Day or Christmas, there was a good chance of it being cut 2. it was part of the 'initiation' so just accept it 3. a career limiting move if one were to complain.

    Whilst an organisation may have well defined policies and procedures and even Codes of Conduct that provide some guidance in relation to treating people with respect and dignity, the most dominant senior manager may simply apply their own 'rules' that dictate the workplace culture. In some cases the manager will move on from a 'blokey' workplace to one that is less accepting of the behaviour.

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