Jessica Fino 10 Dec 2018 10:32am

Deloitte fires 20 partners for inappropriate behaviour

Big Four firm Deloitte has revealed that over the past four years it has fired around 20 partners in the UK for inappropriate behaviour

David Sproul, CEO at the UK firm, told the Financial Times, “We will fire people for any inappropriate behaviour. No one is protected.”

He said they had been terminated for inappropriate behaviour, including sexual harassment and bullying.

This was the first time a Big Four firm has admitted to the number of senior people being fired for inappropriate behaviour.

However, Deloitte has introduced a number of initiatives to combat harassment and discrimination, setting out what is acceptable in the firm.

The firm offers mandatory “respect and inclusion” training for staff and helplines where staff can report incidents anonymously.

But in a LinkedIn post published today, Sproul warned that, despite several initiatives being implemented at the firm over the last years, “culture isn’t something you fix once and move on from”.

“The reality is that there may still be instances in our firm where our people are experiencing bias or inappropriate behaviour in many different forms. We have respect and inclusion advisors and a confidential advice line to encourage people to voice any concerns or call out behaviours they are uncomfortable with,” he wrote.

Sproul, who will be retiring from the firm in six months, concluded that “more than the mechanisms, it’s how we respond to those concerns that will shine a light on our commitment to an inclusive culture”.

He said, “Of course the easy option would be to play down the bad behaviour or deal with it discreetly. But I believe taking direct and visible action - including removing colleagues or partners should their behaviour go against what we expect at Deloitte – is critical.”

Deloitte has managed to reduce its gender pay gap to 41.1% this year, but its bonus gap has widened.

Women make up 43% of Deloitte’s overall workforce but only 19% of its partners and 29% of its directors are female. Sproul said he hopes to bring up the female representation of female partners to 25% by 2020.20.