Deloitte UK’s CEO has revealed the firm has fired around 20 UK partners over the past four years on the grounds of inappropriate behaviour in an interview with the Financial Times (FT).

David Sproul, Deloitte UK CEO, told the FT that this inappropriate behaviour included bullying and harassment.

He said: “We will fire people for any inappropriate behaviour. No one is protected. There had been unfortunately a number of partners who have been fired for inappropriate behaviour, be it of a sexual nature or of a bullying nature. I’d like to say there weren’t any, but there are.”

The group is the first of the Big Four to disclose dismissals revolving around senior management.  

IAB reached out to the rest of the Big Four. EY provided a statement which said: “We firmly believe that it is essential to provide and maintain a professional business environment for each of our 250,000 people around the world.

“Our Global Code of Conduct and our new inclusion and non-discrimination policy provides an ethical framework for addressing actions or behaviours that are not consistent with our values and we take any allegations of harassment in the workplace very seriously. Ensuring our people feel safe, included and valued is part of our culture and this is a responsibility we are committed to uphold.”

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PwC commented: “We’re committed to creating an inclusive, fair and diverse business and do not tolerate harassment or bullying. We regularly update our policies and recently established a new inclusive and positive workplace policy and additional guidance for our people on areas such as standards of expected behaviour and behaviour at social events.”

KPMG had not responded at the time of publication.

In a LinkedIn post published on the 10th of December, Sproul said: “In just over six months I will retire as senior partner and chief executive, and after eight years at the top of the firm I have had cause to reflect on some of the most significant changes that I’ve led or been part of during this time.

“I am proud to say that a shift towards being a more inclusive organisation is one of them. This hasn’t always been straightforward, and at times has meant for decisive action to manage inappropriate behaviour.” 

Even though Deloitte has implemented practical strategies in moving the inclusive and diversity culture forward in the workplace, for example through inclusive leadership workshops, there will still be instances of inappropriate behaviour regardless of change.

Sproul noted: “While progress is certainly significant, I also know the job isn’t done: culture isn’t something you fix once and move on from. The reality is that there may still be instances in our firm where our people are experiencing bias or inappropriate behaviour in many different forms. We have Respect & Inclusion advisors and a confidential advice line to encourage people to voice any concerns or call out behaviours they are uncomfortable with.

By Mishelle Thurai