A former Investigations Officer for the Solicitors Regulation Authority has said two male colleagues had to leave after they were discovered charging the SRA for trysts in hotels.
Speaking to RollOnFriday on the basis of anonymity, the former officer described incidents which occurred between 2006 and 2012, pre-dating the management regime of Paul Phillips, the regulator's current CEO.
The former officer said that in 2006, a female employee in the SRA's Forensics team began unfair dismissal proceedings after she was sacked in which she alleged that her male manager followed her home and hid outside her house in his car, watching her. "In other words, put her under covert surveillance", said the former officer. The SRA settled the claim in 2007. It declined to tell RollOnFriday how much it paid out.
"Just for good measure", said the former officer, "2006 was also the year the SRA settled an equal pay case with a group of women in Forensics". She said the case involved the SRA putting forward an "aggressive defence", but "pooped their pants when they got to disclosure and got the cheque book out". The former officer said she learned over the years "this was how they operated".
A year later, a female Investigation Officer made a claim alleging that her male Investigation Manager victimised her after she rebuffed his sexual advances. Again, the SRA settled her claim. It declined to tell RollOnFriday how much it paid out.
The SRA subsequently suspended the same Investigation Manager, but not for sexual harassment. Colleagues discovered he was billing the SRA for work while he took lovers to hotels. He "shacked up in hotels with various women at the expense of the SRA when he was supposed to be working", said the former officer.
Instead of facing further sanctions, the SRA "miraculously" made him redundant before disciplinary procedures could reach their conclusion, said the former officer.
Asked what it would think if a law firm suspended an employee for dishonesty, but then made him redundant instead of concluding its investigation, an SRA spokesman said "We would not comment on hypothetical situations".
Bizarrely, another male employee was also accused of claiming expenses for bonking on company time, this time in a London hotel, said the former officer. "He admitted the fiddle and was sacked", she said.
She brought her own claim against the SRA in 2011 for bullying. The regulator settled for tens of thousands of pounds two years later.
Asked about the extensive staff shenanigans, the SRA spokesman said, "We cannot release any personal details about any of our staff or former staff because of data protection regulations".