Grant Thornton Joburg CEO steps aside amid sexual harassment probe

Paul Badrick, the CEO of Grant Thornton Johannesburg, has stepped aside pending the outcome of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him.

In a media statement Grant Thornton said that the allegations against Badrick were made during an investigation by Grant Thornton International (GTIL). 

This investigation followed allegations of sexual harassment made by a former director of the firm against the company's head of forensics.

"The sexual harassment allegations against Mr Badrick occurred during 2015. No formal complaints were made until the GTIL investigation which has just ended," read the statement.  

“We have zero tolerance for any form of harassment. We will continue to monitor and review and will take steps to address leadership challenges and the underlying culture,” the firm said in a statement. 

The firm said that Serena Ho, the chairperson of Grant Thornton Johannesburg’s governing Board, would take an "active role with the executive committee in the management of the firm and its communications" after Badrick stepped aside.

In March a former employee of Grant Thornton Johannesburg told EWN that she had been left "humiliated and traumatised" after she was axed from her job when she laid a complaint of sexual harassment against the company's head of forensics.

Later that month Grant Thornton Johannesburg acknowledged in a statement that a second employee had lodged complaints against the same director. No disciplinary hearing took place, however, as the director had resigned. 

"We fully accept that the inconclusive outcome is hugely disappointing for all parties," said the firm at the time. 

Two days after the initial statement then-CEO Badrick apologised to the two people who had lodged complaints, adding that the"grievances and the culture of Grant Thornton Johannesburg need to be investigated by independent third parties". 

He also said that Grant Thornton International would launch an investigation. 

It is this investigation that has ensnared Badrick. 

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