Heavy drinking, initiation games and sexual comments about female colleagues have led to Lloyd’s of London fining one of its member firms £1 million.
Senior leaders at Atrium Underwriters joined “boys’ nights out”, condoning and participating in lewd behaviour, Lloyd’s enforcement team found.
Atrium Underwriters admitted bullying and misconduct charges stemming from the nights out over several years until 2018. It apologised and said it would ensure such behaviour would not be tolerated in future.
The fine of £1,050,000 is the largest ever imposed by Lloyd’s disciplinary committee and its first for non-financial misconduct. Atrium must also pay Lloyd’s costs of £562,714 the committee’s report said.
Several of the comments reported from the nights out were found to be discriminatory and harassing to female members of staff and one male staff member conducted a “systematic campaign of bullying against a junior employee over a number of years”, Lloyd’s found. The junior employee was labelled Employee A in the enforcement team’s report.
Bullying and harassment
Lloyd’s also noted that despite becoming aware of the bullying, Atrium failed to investigate, take disciplinary action or adequately protect the junior employee.
“Instead, Atrium negotiated a settlement package with Employee A, and allowed him to resign from Atrium rather than face disciplinary sanction,” it said.
The document noted that Atrium had a previously good disciplinary record and had co-operated at all times with Lloyd’s inquiry and enforcement proceedings.
It added Atrium had now implemented changes including “updating its policies and procedures relating to disciplinary issues, whistleblowing and diversity and inclusion, as well as its guidance and training for senior managers”.
Lloyd’s chief executive John Neal 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.”
Christopher Stooke, independent non-executive chairman at Atrium, said the firm had failed to live up to its values and had made serious errors in handling what happened.
“The behaviour outlined in the notice of censure has no place in our business or our industry, and we recognise that we must go further to ensure that this situation is never allowed to happen again,” he said.