'No one is protected': Deloitte says it fired 20 partners for alleged sexual misconduct

Me Too sexual harassmentMihai Surdu/Shutterstock

  • Deloitte admitted to firing 20 UK partners in the past four years for alleged sexual harassment and bullying.
  • #MeToo has become increasingly prevalent in the financial world with firms said to be taking a tougher stance on harassment.

Accountancy firm Deloitte and says it fired about 20 partners in the UK in the last four years for behaviour including sexual harassment and bullying.

Separately, seven KPMG partners have left after "inappropriate behaviour." While another "Big 4" accountancy firm PwC said it has sacked five partners over the past three years for inappropriate behaviours such as harassment or bullying.

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

The revel comes as the #MeToo movement gains ground in the financial world, after exposing misconduct in Hollywood and other workplaces. Partners at Deloitte, who earn around £832,000 a year ($1 million), thought it was appropriate to proposition younger staff members at bars, according to Sproul.

"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. You just can't do it," he said. "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 had UK revenues of £3.6 billion in the last financial year and has about 1,000 partners.

On Wall Street, #MeToo has led some financial workers to adopt the so-called "Pence rule" and avoid women completely. Avoiding dinners, flights together, and even booking hotel rooms on different floors have been reported as ways in which men have tried to avoid female colleagues. The rule is problematic because treating women differently at work - by avoiding them, for instance - is a potential type of employment discrimination.

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

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