I’ve been saying it for years - when a company has significant problems, look to the man or woman in charge. This, of course, is at odds with the usual message from the press and government. You know the one - where every employee who claims to have been bullied is presumed to be simply compensation hungry and litigant happy.
But this week, a central London Tribunal heard how a multi-billion-pound firm was brought to its knees by a city bully.
Mr Duffield was well known as the CEO of fund manager firm New Star Asset Management, but he was known for something else too.
As Jonathan Russell wrote in the Telegraph:
‘The Central London Employment Tribunal heard how Mr Duffield called employees "morons and criminals" and asked them whether they were ashamed of themselves if their funds under-performed’
The Tribunal also heard that when a colleague accused Mr Duffield of bullying, the member of staff was labelled ‘emotionally disturbed’ and sacked. Mr Duffield also had a history of bullying young women. He’d settled a prior claim for sexual harassment in the early 90s. He had a reputation for prowling floors and barking at his staff. But presumably, Mr Duffield’s business partners and associates believed his business skills outweighed any negative personality traits.
They were wrong.
The case continues in the Tribunal, but what doesn’t continue is the trading of the company. The firm collapsed. It’s claimed that Mr Duffield’s toxic work environment had a great deal to do with that.
It’s an extreme example of how workplace bullying harms a company, but this situation is being played out countless firms in the UK. It’s just happening at a slower rate.
I’d be interested to see how often the slow burn of workplace bullying from a profit making CEO eventually leaves a company in ashes. And I bet those numbers are far greater than the press or the government would have us believe.
- Bullied By The Boss
- Welcome to my blog. My pen name is Eva James. I'm an aspiring writer paying the bills working as a legal secretary. Relentlessly bullied by my former boss, I looked for another job but the recession hit. Feeling trapped, I recorded everything in this blog, which serves as a revealing insight into workplace bullying. WEEK 1 starts the story and, as the weeks progress, you'll note what starts as banter soon spirals out of control. Sadly, it's all true. Whilst along the way I've found alternative employment, my passion for blogging about workplace bullying remains. Trevor Griffiths, legendary theatre, TV and film writer said at the outset, "I like the writing a lot: smart, cool, placed. If you were prepared/able to take your prick of a boss on, you'd marmelise him."