Paul Badrick back in office, legal charges against GT SA settled amicably

13 September 2018 Authored by Consultancy.co.za

After a turbulent few weeks, which included the announcement of his resignation two months ago, Paul Badrick has reassumed his position as the Chief Executive Officer at Grant Thornton South Africa. The move comes after the sexual harassment charges leveled at the senior executive were cleared. 

Paul Badrick has been battling sexual assault allegations for the better part of this year about an incident that is said to have taken place in 2015 with one of Grant Thornton South Africa’s female employees, who has since left the firm. The allegations came to light after similar accusations were made against the firm’s head of Forensic Services Vernon Naidoo.

The period has been a delicate one for the firm, and its initial response to the situation elicited a negative response across the global press. One of the victims spoke out about an incident – and the absence of a redressal system for the same – on a radio show, following which she was dismissed from the firm.

At the time, Badrick issued an apology stating that, “On behalf of Grant Thornton Johannesburg, I would like to apologise to the two former employees involved. I have tried to reach out to Nerisha by telephone, but I have not been able to reach her yet. I would like to speak to both of them directly to convey my regrets and those of all their colleagues,” adding that “it was a mistake for us to allow the accused former director to perform limited services with clients in which he was personally involved after he had left the firm.”

Paul Badrick back in office, legal charges against GT SA settled amicably

Grant Thornton’s woes were compounded by the decision of a former victim – Nerisha Singh – to take legal action against the firm on the grounds of “sexual harassment, harassment, victimisation, secondary victimisation of [Singh], including failure to protect her, because of being a complainant of sexual harassment. 

Badrick eventually resigned two months ago. Now, it has come to light that the sexual assault allegations against him have been “dismissed in an independent investigation by attorneys Norton Rose Fulbright and he has returned to work.” Badrick will resume his role as CEO of Grant Thornton south Africa.

In addition, a statement released by the Commission for Gender Equality revealed that the legal action taken against the firm has also been withdrawn, after an amicable settlement outside of court. Details of the settlement, however, have not been revealed.

The firm, meanwhile, has confirmed that it has established a grievance redressal mechanism for such instances. Chairperson at Grant Thornton Johannesburg’s Governing Board, Serena Ho explained that there were now structures policies and procedures to handle sexual harassment complaints. 

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