In the climate of #MeToo, interns in investment banks are increasingly alert to signs of sexual harrassment.
One former intern alleges that the environment on a French bank's London trading floor was male-dominated, that her boss conducted, "open conversations about drugs and prostitutes” and that she was subjected to a workplace in which pornography and "animal noises" were the norm. She took the case to court, but it was dismissed. The bank was found not to have unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised her.’"
The former intern, however, is not backing down. She continues to assert that she was subject to degrading behaviour and insists that male members of her team feigned ignorance of events that led to her claim: one, "pretended not to know what pornography was and thought it was simply nudity."
If one thing changes, she suggests it needs to be the presence of mobile phones on the trading floor. Although most banks ban personal phones from trading on regulatory grounds, she claims they are commonplace and are used by male traders for, "viewing and exchanging pornographic content with impunity."
Her allegations follow our report last year that a junior banker was fired for sending an inappropriate message on Tinder. At the time this was attributed to the confusion over the use of personal mobile devices in a workplace context.
The intern says the dismissal of her case will be detrimental to women across the City: "A negative judgement is not only a personal disappointment but also shows the difficulty for women to report such actions which, as they are considered normal by a majority, are too often welcome with contempt and insignificance." She claims that women often left her former department for, "undisclosed reasons," whereas the men stayed, "for very long periods of time."
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