When Jefferies fires people for behaving badly
Jefferies' CEO, Richard Handler, says the unvalidated complaints floating around the internet about harassment by some of its senior staff are not true.
In a series of tweets posted last night, Handler said "similar specific accusations" had been posted "years ago", and that they had been "fully investigated and found to be categorically false." Nonetheless, Handler said the bank will, "once again conduct an independent investigation" into the latest round of allegations, which he suggested are misinformation.
Among other things, the allegations from unnamed individuals, which have not been validated, complain of poor behaviour from some senior bankers, a "toxic, uncomfortable, hostile sexualized culture," and a lack of emphasis on diversity within the firm. Juniors have allegedly left as a result. Jefferies' most recent annual report states that the bank puts all its staff through unconscious bias training, but doesn't commit to diversity hiring numbers like, say, Goldman Sachs.
In an unrelated incident last year, Michael Stock, the CEO of Jefferies Australia was subject to an investigation by a Sydney law firm after a complaint was raised about the way he rebuked a junior following an interaction with a client. The Australian Financial Review said it was told that the report concluded there was no basis for further enquiry.
Jefferies has been known to take action against junior staff whose poor behavior has been validated. Earlier this year the bank is understood to have fired multiple analysts who were found to have made inappropriate salacious comments about a female client in an internal chatroom. At the time, the bank declined to comment.
In 2015, Dalal Belghiti, a former bond trader at Jefferies claimed that male colleagues rated female newscasters for their attractiveness and spent a male-only client ski trip drinking and having sex with women. Belghiti's court case was due to last 12 days, but she withdrew her claim after four days.
In 2014, Sage Kelly, the former head of Jefferies' healthcare group, stepped down from his job after his wife made various accusations about their marriage during divorce proceedings.
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