Goldman Sachs Faces £1m Lawsuit After Reports of Workplace Bullying Surfaces

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Leading investment management firm Goldman Sachs has come under scrutiny after an ex-employee slaps them with a £1 million lawsuit. Ian Dodd, the former employee who worked as the global head of recruiting, said his job was demanding to the point where it deteriorated his mental health. He also said that the company was “dysfunctional”.

The former employee worked at the London office of Goldman Sachs between 2018 and 2021, and within that time period fell sick in 2019 before quitting eventually. He further claimed that meetings often caused him, and other employees, distress to a point where there would be “high emotions, often tears”, as reported by the Financial Times.

Slaps and Punches Were Condoned at Goldman Sachs

In the lawsuit, Ian Dodd has accused the company of not just overworking him but also expecting employees to work longer hours. He also said that it was very common for employees to talk about and receive a punch or a slap in the face and this kind of bullying was condoned in the company.

READ: Workplace Bullying and Incivility: New Legislation and Tips for HR

According to Financial Times, the company has denied all claims and has filed a detailed defence in the high court. The defence says that while there have been instances where colleagues were upset (because of work or personal reasons), the instances were not frequent.

Goldman Sachs also states that the claims made by Ian Dodd are false and people were not sobbing through meetings as he claimed. They further added that Ian Dodd’s work pressure was something he brought upon himself and that no one forced him to work overtime.

As it stands, the case is said to be heard in December 2023.

Workplace Bullying Rampant in the UK

Earlier this year it was reported that workplace bullying is rampant in multiple work sectors of the UK with hospitality being exposed to it the most. This was closely followed by the accounting sector and retail sector. In another survey by CIPD, it was revealed that at least 15% of employees have experienced workplace bullying in some shape or form.

READ: Bullying in the Workplace – What HR Can Do

Unsurprisingly, workplace bullying is not limited to just the four walls of an office and also happens to remote workers. According to the BBC, employment tribunal cases for bullying were at an all-time high of 44% in 2022, and this included remarks during video calls, gossiping during colleague presentations, and leaving people out of remote meetings.

However, an anti-bullying bill was presented in July 2023 in the House of Commons to tackle the ever-growing issue of workplace harassment and bullying. The main objectives of the bill include:

  1. Establishing a legal definition of bullying at work,
  2. Enabling victims to bring their claims forward,
  3. Setting a conduct code to create a respectful work environment, and,
  4. Empowering the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to act against frequent bullying.

What Does Workplace Bullying Look Like?

Some of the most common cases of workplace bullying often happen from the higher-ups and are targeted towards anyone who is lower down in the hierarchy. However, this is not always the case and workplace bullying can also be done by peers.

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How Did They Get There and What Happens Next?

Workplace bullying could take various shapes such as – being picked on, being humiliated in front of others, being targeted to work extra etc. In addition to this, being a victim of microaggressions can also be a sign of workplace bullying. While a lot of people don’t pay much attention to microaggression by classifying it as ignorance, a lot of the time, these microaggressions are deliberate. It is important to call people out if they make insensitive comments about you, to understand the actual intention behind it.

The effects of workplace bullying can be intense and long-lasting, leaving employees with poor mental health and deteriorating physical health.

If you or anyone you know is being/has been subject to workplace bullying, get in touch with the employment law specialists at Redmans Solicitors today!


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