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Dec 19, 2018

UK company discrimination complaints increase by more than 300 percent

Complaints involve issues of gender, racism, physical bullying and homophobia

Complaints made to the UK financial regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) involving sexual misconduct and discrimination have increased by more than 300 percent in 2018.

Complaints to the regulator concerning issues like discrimination and sexual harassment in financial services grew from 20 reports in 2017 to 64 in 2018, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA Christopher Woolard highlighted in a speech today.

The disclosure follows a speech in May by the FCA’s executive director of supervision for wholesale and specialist investment Megan Butler, who spoke out on misconduct.

Woolard said that in the wake of this speech the regulator ‘received our highest number of disclosures from whistleblowers… not just involving issues around gender, but also racism, physical bullying and homophobia.’

He added: ‘Over the last 12 months, we have seen a noticeable upturn in reports which concern issues like discrimination and sexual harassment in financial services.

‘Our message to firms is clear: non-financial misconduct is misconduct, plain and simple. While numbers are still small, they point to a striking trend.

‘We are seeing some firms take what they would regard as a zero-risk approach in response to #MeToo, which, rather than having the intended effect of making women safer in the workplace, I fear may see the re-emergence of cosy boys’ clubs and men-only networks. That misses the point.

‘In 2018, we might hope that all colleagues in a firm could be treated with respect by leaders as a matter of basic character. As the regulator, we will certainly expect so.’