KPMG has been accused of mishandling a #metoo incident in which a newly-qualified lawyer accused a senior solicitor of sexual harassment but then withdrew her allegation.

The NQ complained in February this year that a male director in the accountancy firm's legal services group had sexually harassed her at a 2018 event attended by clients and counsel. The senior solicitor denied the allegations and, said a source, in the course of KPMG's investigation other staff supported his version of events. In April 2019, just before KPMG bosses were about to meet to consider the results of the investigation, the NQ dropped her grievance.

A source said the NQ admitted that she had fabricated the allegation. When the director asked for a public apology to be provided to the rest of the team "because of the reputational damage", she refused, said the source, explaining that she "made up the accusation because of depression". However, another source claimed that the NQ did not say she had lied, or blame depression, and that there was a different, confidential, reason she brought and then dropped her claim.

After being asked by KPMG partners to "let it go as the mature way of handling the situation", said insiders, the director handed in his notice. "Many team members are aware of the accusation but not the events that followed", said a source. "The NQ who made the false claim is still working in the [same] team with no disciplinary steps having been taken against her. The director is still working in [that team too]. No explanation has been given to other team members".


bungle

A Bungle, yesterday.


Asked about KPMG's management of the matter, a spokeswoman said, "As a firm, we have robust policies in place to deal with any reported instances of harassment, victimisation and bullying. All reports are investigated via our disciplinary procedures and action is taken where appropriate”.

“While we do not comment in detail on individual cases and investigations", she added, "we do not recognise this characterisation of events, which is factually inaccurate". KPMG declined to state how the account was inaccurate.

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Comments

Anonymous 24 May 19 08:33

It seems highly unlikely that she  went on the record to say she made up the allegation.  Surely that would be grounds for summary dismissal, regardless of depression. And don’t the alleged circumstances leave the accused person with a case for constructive dismissal?  Kpmg must have taken legal advice so why would they handle the situation like this if the  accuser has confessed to lying? Seems likelier to me that the second source is correct in saying the allegation was withdrawn with no such confession.

Anonymous 24 May 19 09:57

@08:33 It seems like you're taking the side of the girl even though she admitted she made it up. It is situations like this and #metoo girls who are making it harder for girls who have actually suffered sexual harassment to come forward. A divide is being created between males and females due to such outrageous situations which in itself is just rediculous. False accusers need to be harshly punished and their names made public.

Anonymous 24 May 19 10:04

We don’t know whether she lied, or said she lied, or didn’t lie, or didn’t say she lied. There are conflicting accounts and KPMG won’t go on the record.  So drawing conclusions about her or his culpability is premature.

Shadow Moses 24 May 19 10:20

She lied, she wanted fame and she got it but not in the way she wanted. The grown up thing to do would have been to apologise but instead she has chosen to stay and create atension within the team she is still working in. 

Anonymous 24 May 19 10:40

Is she did lie, then surely her dishonesty (given the damage it has caused to the reputation of another solicitor (and potentially the profession)) is grounds for her to be reported to the SRA.

Anonymous99 24 May 19 11:16

The girl did admit she had lied but blamed it on depression. The senior solicitor was persuaded my senior management at KPMG not to pursue disciplinary action against the girl because she was suicidal.

Anonymous 24 May 19 11:44

He said, she said, yeah but, no but, look at me, how dare you look at me?, it's not fair stop oppressing me, I'm only a man/woman.

Anonymous 24 May 19 11:50

After been falsely accused of being a sexual harasser, he is also told to 'be mature' and carry on as nothing happened.  IMO, good for him to leave a place like this. Very poor handling of the situation on their side

Anonymous 24 May 19 12:03

That's right, @11:44, we know that the accuser said that the accusations weren't true. This was supported by other staff. That's how we know the accusations weren't true.

Anonymous 24 May 19 12:34

@12:03 did the other staff corroborate the NQ saying it wasn’t true or did they corroborate the director’s version of events?

Dingo Warrior 24 May 19 13:06

Well have you all not missed the point : A) The victim is the Senior Director B) The culprit is mental unstable  C) HR are idiots - always have been always will be  D) HR should be rebranded  ( Monkeys with no clue )   Solutions: A) Compensate the Victim ( Senior Director B) Offer Medical leave ( fully paid ) and support to the culprit C) Fire HR - ALL "drop this CIPD BS - and bring forth people that deal with people instead of treating them as assets D) HR - Should be rebranded to Monkeys with no clue or revert to their old state = Personnel - dealing with employment contracts & employment matters - remove them from the financial duties, that would show them their place in life.    God Bless and remember its mental health month.     

Anonymous99 24 May 19 13:49

KPMG had insisted that the senior solicitor should go for internal mediation. The senior solicitor insisted on a formal investigation and those that were present at the event including an independent Counsel confirmed the allegations were completely untrue. The accuser then withdrew her allegations stating she had been subject to sexual abuse from another third party outside KPMG which had mentally made her make the accusations against the innocent party, she therefore confirmed that the allegations were false and said she wished to work with the senior solicitor again (which was refused by the senior solicitor for obvious reasons). She was then given support by way of counselling but she had already informed numerous colleagues of the false accusations which put the senior solicitor in an impossible position to continue his role at KPMG.

Ima Nonymous 24 May 19 15:08

Hi, there are some people commenting above who appear to be displaying knowledge going beyond that which was reported in the original ROF story. I would strongly urge them to consider whether it is sensible to be doing so in all the circumstances.

Anonymous 24 May 19 16:09

The other staff corroborated the diector @12:34. The NQ corroborated the other staff by admitting the story wasn't true.

Anonymous 24 May 19 16:19

I think its very sensible to expand on the initial story Ima Nonymous. Why do you suggest it might not be sensible?

Anonymous 95 24 May 19 16:41

I bet KPMG did not take an injunction against this article because they knew following disclosure they would be damned in relation to the mishandling of this issue

Anonymous 24 May 19 17:15

Not just alleged sexual harassment but in other matters I am noticing more and more women making baseless official complaints as part of office politics. Is this a mumsnet or Cosmo thing? 

Just passing 25 May 19 00:48

I note that comments are subject to moderation. Any chance they can be spell checked too? As someone who is easily distracted by minutiae, the appearance at 0957 of “rediculous” knocked me completely off my stride. At 1020 Shadow rendered me speechless with what I initially thought was an attempt to spell “attention” phonetically (which, in the context, would just about have made sense...) when at the last minute I avoided a seizure by concluding a space had failed to be inserted between the letter “a” and the word “tension”.  I’d get out more but my wife prefers it if I stay at home. She says it’s easier that way. Whatever that means?

Anonymous 25 May 19 05:51

09:57 and 10:20 probably feel that they're doing something right if that's the worst that can be said about their comments.

Just passing 26 May 19 00:10

You’re right. Whatever has happened, even if it’s only a tornado in a tea cup, it does not deserve an irreverent comment regarding lamentable spelling. I should take things more seriously. Soz.

Anonymous 26 May 19 18:17

Wonder if she claimed to have been sexually harassed in that dodgy recent survey. Wonder if he did.

Anonymous 26 May 19 23:32

Sexual harassment to a millennial is Just being criticised  by a member of the opposite sex. 

Anonymous 28 May 19 22:41

KPMG don't come out of this smelling of roses if they tried to cover up what happened in order to pretend that false accusations don't occur.

anonnymouse 30 May 19 15:27

well done complainant - more ammo for the women are unstable and hysterical and not really suited for these sort of work roles stereotype mill