BNP Paribas, the France-based international bank, will be liable to pay a former employee/banker — who was fired by the Bank following a newspaper report alleging that the employee demanded sexual favours from a female colleague — $327,300 in damages!
The case of misbehaviour at the workplace actually took place way back in 2012. At the time, the said banker / the accused, Aurelien Gressier, was given a warning by the Bank and let go.
It was only in 2017, during the #Me Too movement that the incident came to light in public, when it was reported by a French newspaper. Post this public revelation, the Bank had to take action and fired Gressier.
However, a judgement of the Paris Court of Appeal said that this U-turn act of the Bank came a tad late, when the #MeToo Movement was at its peak. The court ruled that this delayed action violated French Disciplinary Rule.
“The behaviour that took place in 2012 already gave rise to discipline and can’t be further punished,” wrote the judges. The court further directed that the Bank pay 300,000 euros ($327,300) to make up for the unfair termination.
The 2017 article, which appeared in Liberation, a French daily, reported that in one of the instances, Gressier barged into the cabin of the woman employee and demanded sex. Another instance mentioned that in one of the meetings, Gressier passed inappropriate remarks about the woman’s employee’s attire and touched her inappropriately.
Shortly after this incident, the concerned woman employee reported this to the HR department and was assured that strict action would be taken against Gressier and that his career would be destroyed.
However, no action was taken. Instead, Gressier was let go with just a warning and later, was also promoted to the position of managing director of Singapore.
Post publishing of this article, another woman employed at the Bank came forward saying that Gressier had misbehaved with her too in one of the Company’s parties.
This is not the first time that the Bank has found itself entangled in controversies questioning its workplace culture. In a recent ruling in London, BNP had to cough up two million pounds ($2.6 million) to a woman employee, who sued the Bank for gender pay gap.