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Lloyd’s fines firm £1m over ‘Boys Night Out’ bullying
The insurance market Lloyd’s of London has issued the largest ever fine, of more than £1m, in its 336-year history after a member firm mishandled a bullying and harassment case and hosted an inappropriate “Boys Night Out” event for staff, our banking correspondent Kalyeena Makortoff reports.
Lloyd’s announced today that it had issued three charges against Atrium Underwriters in relation to “serious failures” by the firm and its senior managers, which came to a head in 2018.
One of the charges related “a systematic campaign of bullying” by one male staffer against against a junior employee, that was well known within the firm, but failed to result in any disciplinary measures against the offending worker.
The firm was also charged for “sanctioning and tolerating” an annual “Boys’ Night Out” where some male employees – including two senior executives – took part in inappropriate initiation games, heavy drinking, and sexual comments about female colleagues that Lloyds said were both “discriminatory and harassing” to members of staff. “Some of this conduct was led, participated in and condoned, by the two senior managers in attendance,” it said.
John Neal, Lloyd’s chief executive, said:
We are deeply disappointed by the behaviour highlighted by this case, and I want to be clear that discrimination, harassment and bullying have no place at Lloyd’s. The robust action we have taken today, including the largest fine ever imposed by the Lloyd’s Enforcement Board, shows that we will not tolerate poor conduct in our market. Lloyd’s expects all participants in the market to meet the highest standards of professionalism, and we are continuing to use our powers to intervene when needed.
Christopher Stooke, Atrium’s chairman, said the company fully accepted the ruling and recognised it must ensure such behaviour “is never allowed to happen again”.
With deep regret, it is clear that Atrium failed to live up to its values and serious errors were made when handling these matters. We are sorry for the hurt that this caused and how difficult this been for those affected.
We have moved quickly to address and learn from these past failings and update our policies and procedures to ensure the highest standards.