Fidelity Investments Chief Executive Abigail Johnson pledged to create a safe workplace environment for its thousands of employees during a presentation last week.
In the past few weeks Fidelity Investments, which is one of the biggest investment companies in the U.S., fired two portfolio managers over allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate comments to female employees. The investment world is just the latest industry to get embroiled in sexual harassment scandals that have been plaguing Hollywood and the media.
During her speech, Johnson said she is aiming to create a workplace that doesn’t have any sexual harassment or bullying. “I won’t tolerate it and nor should anyone else,” Johnson said according to the Providence Journal, which covered the speech. She said it is “critical” for the financial services industry to do this. While Johnson acknowledged that a lot has changed since she was an equity analyst at Fidelity in 1989 clearly not enough given the mounting accusations piling up against people in powerful positions. Johnson said there is a gap between the policies that are currently on the books and what men and women experience in the workplace. “For us to build a better future, it is important for us to create a culture where bad behavior is not tolerated,” she said.
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Since October Fidelity has been making moves to improve the culture at its company and prevent any more sexual harassment claims from ensuing. First reported by the Wall Street Journal, on Oct. 12, Fidelity fired star portfolio manager Gavin Baker, who is accused of sexual harassment. Baker has denied the claims. Meanwhile, the investment firm also dismissed Robert Chow, who had been a portfolio manager for close to thirty years for making inappropriate sexual comments. Those dismissals and the attention sexual harassment in the workplace is getting has prompted Fidelity to reportedly hire a consulting firm to review the behavior of employees dating back years, reported the Wall Street Journal. Fidelity wouldn’t confirm to the paper the hiring of the outside firm.
Johnson has also issued a brief video on the matter that was distributed to the company’s workforce of 400,000 late last month. In it, the CEO said she expects all employees at the company to create an environment in which “all associates are treated with courtesy, compassion, and respect.” She went on to say that the company has no tolerance for any type of harassment. “We simply will not, and do not tolerate this type of behavior, from anyone. “When allegations of these sorts are brought to our attention, we investigate them promptly and take appropriate action.”