CBI failed to fire people who ‘sexually harassed’ women | UK News
The UK’s largest business group has admitted it hired “culturally toxic” staff and failed to fire people accused of sexually harassing female colleagues.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said it has now fired “a number of people” following a series of allegations of sexual misconduct.
President Brian McBride said a “small minority of staff” have “regressive and in some cases obnoxious attitudes” toward the women they work with.
The CBI had tried to “find solutions” when women made allegations rather than remove offenders – which Mr McBride conceded was a “grave error”.
In an open letter published on Monday, he said: “We have tried to find a solution in sexual harassment cases where we should have removed these perpetrators from our business.
“In retrospect, this last point was our most serious mistake, resulting in women being reluctant to make complaints.
“It allowed this very small minority of employees with regressive — and in some cases obnoxious — attitudes towards their female colleagues to feel more confident in their behavior and more secure about not being detected.
“And it led victims of harassment or violence to believe their only option was to tell a newspaper about their experience.”
The CBI President spoke out after a second rape allegation was reported in The Guardian newspaper on Friday.
Former general manager Tony Danker was sacked with immediate effect earlier this month following allegations of his behavior towards a staff member.
Three other workers have been suspended “pending further investigations into a number of ongoing allegations,” the group said.
The investigation into allegations of rape and sexual harassment has sparked an exodus of British companies from the CBI – including a woman who claims she was raped by two male colleagues at a foreign office.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt today warned there was “no point” in getting involved with the trade body after dozens of its own members “left it in droves”.
Mr Hunt said: “That’s why we want to look at an entity that is committed to the business.
“It’s incredibly important to me when preparing budgets to have someone to turn to who speaks for the UK economy.”
And he said ministers were “very concerned” about the allegations, which he described as “very, very serious”.
The Chancellor spoke to journalists after it was revealed that stricter measures against sexual harassment at work in the UK are likely to be scrapped.
A new group, BizUK, was unveiled on Sunday after contacting chief executives to ask if they would be interested in a new short-term group to represent their interests to the government.
Founder Nick Faith said he hopes to see between 50 and 60 companies sign up within the next few months to six weeks.
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