Big Four disclose 37 partners fired in four years

EY, PwC and KPMG have followed Deloitte’s lead in disclosing that they have also recently fired partners over accusations of bullying and sexual harassment, in what is being seen as a move to encourage a more inclusive culture at the Big Four

Earlier this week Deloitte CEO David Sproul revealed about 20 UK partners have been fired over the past four years for inappropriate behaviour.

KPMG has now disclosed seven of its 635 partners had been dismissed for similar reasons over the same period; PwC and EY have reported that each firm has sacked five partners. 

Justine Campbell, EY’s managing partner for talent in the UK said: ‘Allegations of inappropriate conduct are always taken very seriously and are fully investigated. Disciplinary action, including dismissal, is taken as appropriate.

‘At EY it is important that we maintain the right inclusive culture for our people and we have strict policies on sexual harassment and bullying in place. We also have a dedicated hotline and actively encourage our people to report any incidents of inappropriate behaviour which we act on immediately.’

A PwC spokesperson said: ‘We’re committed to ensuring an inclusive, fair and diverse workplace and do not tolerate harassment or bullying.

‘We regularly review and update our policies and recently established a new inclusive and positive workplace policy with guidance for our people on areas such as standards of expected behaviour.’

KPMG said it had anti-harassment, victimisation and bullying policies which ‘strictly prohibit’ such behaviours.

 Anna Purchas, head of people for KPMG, said: ‘When our people experience or see behaviour they believe contravenes this policy, we actively encourage them to report it to us, either by speaking to a manager, senior colleague, dedicated HR contact or via Speak Up, our whistleblowing hotline or our Values Helpline.

‘When we receive reports of behaviour that contravenes our policy we have a set disciplinary process and where allegations are upheld, we have taken a range of actions including dismissal.’

Sproul said there was a need for ‘direct and visible action’ to create a genuinely inclusive and respectful culture at accountancy firms, saying they needed to embrace the kind of openness that has characterised the #MeToo movement encouraging people to speak up.

Report by Pat Sweet

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