octopus partner

"STay OUt, I'm ChANGiNg"


A rainmaking partner at the City office of a US firm got his team's annual Christmas party cancelled after he groped a young secretary, a source within the firm has alleged.

RollOnFriday is not naming the firm or the partner, but let's call him 'Handsy', as it has not been possible to contact his alleged victim to obtain her consent to the risk of being 'jigsawed'.

According to the source, Handsy made his unwanted advances at his team's Christmas party, prior to 2020. The middle-aged partner, who is a well-known name in his field, was allegedly drunk and "exceedingly inappropriate" with one of the secretaries in the team. "He was touching and groping her. He ran his hand on her thigh and bum area. He also brushed against her chest area. He also repeatedly tried to dance with her inappropriately. At one point he had her isolated on the sofa and had his arm over her shoulder and his hand rested on her leg and thigh", said the source.

"She was visually upset and uncomfortable", said the source, and in tears by the end of the night. "It was clear she was trying to get away from the situation but he wouldn’t stop".

The alleged sofa-groping was witnessed by a number of people, while more staff witnessed the partner's roving hands on the dance floor. Handsy made a similar attempt on another of the secretaries, but she was "more successful in ridding herself of him" and managed to leave the event early, said the source. 

His first alleged victim was "very upset" and eventually moved to another team, said the insider, while Handsy's behaviour back in the office was described as "very shady": associates who spoke openly about the incident were "rebuked", and he allegedly used colleagues to put pressure on the distressed PA to retract her story.

The only tangible fallout for Handsy was that his team was stripped of the right to have a Christmas party, according to the source. "There were Christmas events organised the following years but they were very different", they said. Meanwhile, the groping bug was passed on.

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Comments

Anonymous 14 May 21 09:18

Did the source complain about this formally? It would be interesting to know if the secretary or anyone else agrees with the sources version of events.

Anonymous 14 May 21 09:34

We don't know its true - it may be or it may not be. Its probably not exactly as suggested.

Dearie 14 May 21 10:08

Rather than asking if the victim complained, did any people in the room not tell him to back off? Speaks poorly of her colleagues and not just Handsy.

Honest 14 May 21 10:30

The most depressing thing is that people reading this will think “I know who ‘Handsy’ is” - but most of them will be wrong, as this behaviour is disappointingly commonplace.

Anonymous 14 May 21 10:30

@Dearie - assuming the allegations are true, yes. But we don't know if there was a 'victim'.

And the question wasn't whether the alleged victim complained, but whether the source did. Agree it speaks poorly of them if they didn't.

Anonymous 14 May 21 10:33

Anon - the poor woman changed teams and Handsy is excluded from future Christmas parties. So someone somewhere along the line must have complained or mentioned this incident to HR.

Have you thought that maybe this woman was too scared to make a formal complaint because she could not afford to lose her job or he potentially applied pressure on her to keep schtum?

 

Anon 14 May 21 10:41

Sounds like this went on for ages, standing around, sitting down, on the dance floor - why tolerate this for all that time.  He also tried it on with someone else and that person managed to rid herself of him.  Tell him where to go and walk off, go and stand with others - there were plenty of people there.  He was a drunk a-hole and that behaviour can be made into an HR issue.  Rainmaker or not, he is not an omnipotent beyond-the-law being.  But I do not understand why someone who is visibly upset about this behaviour just tolerates it when they are in a roomful of people.  

Anonymous 14 May 21 10:43

Anonymous @ 10.33 - you really think HR investigated this, found the allegations to be true, and all they did was exclude him from future Christmas parties? I doubt this. And the source says differently- they say Christmas parties stopped, not that he was excluded from them.

The question isn't whether she complained, but whether the source did. What 'pressure do you think he might have put on her? 

Anonymous 14 May 21 10:45

@1041

Are you one of those who believes that if she didn't fight back then she must have liked the attention?

 

 

Anonymous 14 May 21 10:54

In response to 10.43, I've seen HR do much less for much more so it wouldn't surprise me if that is the only action they took. 

Anonymous 14 May 21 11:06

@10.54 - you've seen HR do much less than ban someone from future Christmas parties for repeatedly groping someone? What did they do and what did HR do? I find this very surprising.

I'd also be very surprised if all HR did if they'd found that someone had repeatedly groped someone was to ban them from future Christmas parties. The source for this story doesn't suggest that's what happens.

Anonymous 14 May 21 11:09

I don't understand why she didn't just leave the event?

Something about this doesn't add up.

Anonymous 14 May 21 11:13

In response to 10.54:

Do you truly find this so surprising? A quick scan at previous articles on ROF will show you the sorts of things people get away with for ages because they're part of the boys club. You don't need me to anecdotally tell you of dirty goings-on in the past to highlight the issue.

You're being deliberately obtuse because you seem to think that if the woman concerned did not shout at the top of her lungs or hit Handsy when he was groping her that it can't have happened. Or maybe he only did it the once (is just the once permissible for you?). 

Anonymous 14 May 21 11:14

Pretty sad that one or more of the other partners didn't take him to one side and give him a dressing down before sending him home that night to prevent further unwanted attention. 

Anonymous 14 May 21 11:22

@11.13 - don't assume all allegations are true. A lot of them have been shown not to be.

Anonymous 14 May 21 11:23

Feels a bit unfair to blight ol' Handsy's career over a minor incident like this.

He's coining it for the firm, the Christmas Party is a well known 'live ammo' event, he doesn't sound to have any previous, so why make such a fuss?

I say let 'em rip once a year at the annual shindig and then be puritans for the rest of the year. It's the fairest way.

Anonymous 14 May 21 11:33

HR doesn't work as a protective / accountability function, when they work for the rainmaker. You seriously think senior people in the firm would fire Handsy before they'd fire a person from HR that spoke up to say there needs to be proper repercussions following this behaviour?

Anon 14 May 21 12:01

11:23 - you’ve just summarised why there is still so much to do in terms of educating people like you as to why sexual harassment and abuse of power  isn’t OK. 

Anonymous 14 May 21 12:02

@11:09, perhaps because she was scared of being accused of making a scene? Which, given his alleged behaviour subsequently, would seem justified concern.

Orwell 14 May 21 12:17

@11:14, at my former firm, an associate was slapped when she rejected the advances of a partner at a group social event. Guess how long it took for him to be disciplined, let alone any partner defending her?

Anonymous 14 May 21 12:27

Did it happen in front of other partners (or other staff) Orwell? Was the partner disciplined eventually?

Anonymous 14 May 21 12:41

@11.33 - I don't seriously believe HR investigated the allegations, found them to be true, and decided that the punishment would be to ban him from future Christmas parties because if they suggested a more severe punishment they'd get fired. Even the source of the story doesn't suggest this.

If HR were afraid of being fired (or, as more commonly happens, see it as their job to back up management no matter what), then they would just have found that the allegations were untrue, whether that was the case or not. The liklihood in this case is that there was no complaint to HR.

Anon 14 May 21 12:44

@11.14 @11.44 - allegations are true. I was an associate in this team - none of the other partners would dare cross Handsy - too powerful within the firm (and therein lies the problem)

Orwell 14 May 21 12:48

Yes, @12:36, it's my response that's the right thing to question here. Glad you cut to the quick of the important issues.

Anon 14 May 21 12:49

There was a complaint. HR are toothless against rainmakers. Not the first time it has happened and won’t be the last. 

Anonymous 14 May 21 12:52

Hang on 11:14, was the associate slapped on the bottom or somewhere else?

The former isn't a big deal, it's a natural and normal part of the process of flirting, so if they found it unpleasant then that's sort of their problem not anyone else's. Take it as a compliment on the quality of your buttocks, but then politely decline the advance and move on with your life. Job done.

Obviously slapping people in the face isn't ok though (and I suppose anywhere above the waist really). If that's what you're saying happened then somebody has probably gone a little bit too far.

Anonymous 14 May 21 13:02

@12:01 - what on earth are you talking about? I'm the only one here making any sense.

If you don't want to go to the Christmas Party then just don't go. But don't force everyone else to have a miserable time just because you aren't secure enough to let your hair down once a year.

It's what the whole event is for!

The only reason that office Christmas Parties are ever bad is because they get taken over by self-important finger waggers who prohibit anyone else from having fun because they're scared that they'll be left standing awkwardly in the corner while other people enjoy themselves. Seriously, put the D&I twerps in charge and you'll be stuck drinking lukewarm lemonade out of plastic cups, listening to the DJ play the hokey kokey, and then getting taxis home at nine. Alone.

Anonymous 14 May 21 13:24

@12.49 - so do you think there was a complaint and HR are stopping him going to Christmas party or do you think there was a complaint and HR stopped Christmas parties for his whole team? Both can't be right, and both seem unlikely.

I doubt there was a complaint to HR.

 

Anon 14 May 21 13:29

When I trained at a silver circle firm partner bullying was seen as part of the learning curve. I think the rigid hierarchy that firms have breeds toxicity. I cannot see how the PR talk on diversity and inclusion etc can work within firms that are so wedded to old fashioned, outdated hierarchical structures.

Anonymous 14 May 21 13:42

What is the point in posting these stories without naming the firm or person in question?

HR complaints = pointless 14 May 21 13:49

A rain maker in a private practice is virtually untouchable.  HR in these situations will be no use or ornament  to stop it and the victims usually end up managed out.  

Anonymous 14 May 21 13:59

@ Orwell 14 May 21 12:48

Don't attempt sarcasm to deflect attention away from your cowardice and dereliction of duty 

Anonymous 14 May 21 14:39

@12.01 - nobody thinks sexial harassment and abuse of power is ok. That's why its important to call out dubious allegations.

Anonymous 14 May 21 15:12

This person is a rainmaker, not just a regular partner. The morally right thing to do is to speak up. However, in practice anyone who does (partner, associate or HR) will be cannon fodder.

 

To the person/people (@11.23 and @13:02) who seem OBSESSED with having a debauched Christmas party: you can still let your hair down without the evening descending into sexual assault territory.

Anonymous 14 May 21 15:20

"HR are toothless against rainmakers"

I for one am shocked to learn that disposable administrators have far less power than the individuals who generate the vast majority of their organisation's revenues and thereby pay everyone else's salaries.

Who could possibly have guessed that a commercial organisation would be reticent to voluntarily cut a few million pounds of its own revenue, or that the people who own the firm might have higher status than the functionaries they hire to make sure everyone files their health insurance forms in the right folder.

A real eye opener.

Anonymous 14 May 21 15:24

@13.49 - that depends. I agree that HR are unlikely to look into a complaint fairly, but the result depends on what way they think the wind is blowing. These days HR are just as likely to throw someone accused under a bus whether or not the allegations are true. There are even cases of HR making up or embellishing claims. Remember, the vast majority of HR staff are female, and it is perhaps unsurprising that they often take the side of a female accuser against a male accused.

In the case here though it seems that HR weren't involved.

Anonymous 14 May 21 15:39

"a debauched Christmas party"

Literally what is the point of any other kind?

 

You don't want to be a part of it? Cool. Just get on the bus at nine thirty with all of the other hags from the admin departments. You and Maureen from Accounts can have a good old chat about spreadsheets and the rest of us will get on with enjoying our evening.

If we ever do want a dull Christmas Party where nothing interesting happens, we'll let you know.

Anonymous 14 May 21 15:44

@15.12 - right, so we've established nobody complained about this to HR. If they did, and the allegations were found to be true, they'd have done a lot more than stop him going to the next Christmas party, rainmaker or no rainmaker.

The next question is, did anyone report this to the SRA? It seems that this wasn't reported anywhere, and that might be because the source was more offended than the people actually involved.

Anonymous 14 May 21 15:53

@15.20 - if an allegation of this sort was made against a senior partner then it would be investigated by a senior HR person. If the investigation found that the allegations were true and the senior HR person was then sacked for making those findings they would make so much money from an employment claim that they'd never need to work another day in their lives. The millions earned by the rainmaker would be chickenfeed in comparison to this and the lost revenue the firm would suffer from the publicity.

An eye opener indeed.

Anonymous 14 May 21 16:08

"the source was more offended than the people actually involved"

 

Oh, you're right aren't you... it's another of these jealous observer stories. 

Nobody involved thinks it's a big deal, but one of the office's roving offence seekers has taken it upon themselves to get upset on everyone else's behalf. Classic drama manufacturing.

 

Moral of the story: next time be sure to slap all of the secretaries' bottoms, that way nobody feels left out.

... and even if one of the marketing girls has a moan about it, at least you had a good time and got your money's worth.

Anonymous 14 May 21 16:13

"a senior HR person"

 

Blimey. I can feel those partners quaking from here.

Few titles inspire such dread, perhaps only Highly Experienced Payroll Administrator comes close.

Anonymous 14 May 21 16:39

@16.35 - there was no evidence to support the allegation. That and the fact the allegations have fallen apart make the dubious.

Anonymous 14 May 21 16:40

@16.08 - the allegations could have been made for a variety of reasons. The source being jealous is one.

Anonymous 14 May 21 16:45

@15.12 - although there was no sexual assault as the police weren't involved, much less anyone found guilty of one.

Anonymous 14 May 21 17:01

@1645 - Think you might need to ask for a refund on that law degree, my friend. Why don't you check the definition of sexual assault under section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 - intentional sexual touching without consent. Sexual assault can happen, whether the police were involved or not.

Anonymous 14 May 21 17:08

@1539 - Think you're failing to see the subtle nuance between consensual and non-consensual debauchery.

Anonymous 14 May 21 17:26

@17.01 - nobody has admitted to sexual assault or been found guilty of sexual assault, so there was no sexual assault. In fact there hasn't even been a complaint of sexual assault.

For sexual assault to have taken place, someone has to be guilty of it. I think it might be you who needs a refund on that law degree, my friend!

Anon 14 May 21 17:46

@ Anonymous 14 May 21 15:44

To suggest that the only plausible conclusion is that HR investigated and the claim wasn’t substantiated is either juvenile or delusional. Read through any analogous article published on this website and you’ll find that in 9 out of 10 cases the relevant partner is still gleefully employed. The fact that the victim in this example has been quietly shuffled into another team is very telling. 
 

What the back end of this comment section demonstrates is that this behaviour will, structurally, continue to be tolerated in this industry because anyone who speaks up is “jealous” and “it’s only a problem if the police are involved”.

Anonymous 14 May 21 17:50

@16:51 - will I need to report myself if the bum I grab is attached to one of the cute little HR girls?

 

Or would I just do something like waggle my eyebrows at her afterwards and say "I suppose I need to report that? ...as an amazingly good butt" in a salacious tone?

Anonymous 14 May 21 17:53

@1342 - completely agree. There's an embedded link at the end of the article "Meanwhile, the groping bug was passed on" and the firm there is named.

Anonymous 14 May 21 18:12

@13.29 - agree on the rigid hierarchy facilitating a lot of problems, including dubious allegations.

Anonymous 14 May 21 18:46

@1553 I enjoy your optimism. That’s not how these things roll in practice, though. Even (and especially) a “senior HR person” knows where their paycheck comes from.

Take your pick:

  1. Senior HR person finds insufficient evidence of allegations, because isn’t instructed or permitted (by rainmaker) to interview those at the Christmas party. Responsibility discharged.
  2. Senior HR person finds allegations are true but takes steps to mitigate i.e. cancel the team’s annual Christmas party and moves PA to another team. Responsibility discharged.
  3. Senior HR person finds allegations are true and won’t give up; is managed out (there are a number of creative ways), and when he/she leaves, signs a settlement agreement (including very strong confidentiality provisions) and gets given a wad of cash, because they still want (need) to work in the industry. No Employment Tribunal.

Also, remember that Employment Tribunals are public. You have to be very confident that you’ll win enough cash that you’ll never have to work again (because let’s face it, you won’t be working in the London / the legal industry after taking this US firm to the Employment Tribunal). Worth the headache for ‘justice’ when its you against this powerhouse? Probably not.

Anonymous 14 May 21 18:48

@1726: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Anon 14 May 21 18:49

Nobody did anything including the victim because he’s a “rainmaker” and the only person who loses is the secretary who won’t have a job and the associates who dare question authority and their promotions stop. It’s common place, HR don’t support staff, they support the partners. Lip service to the lot. Poor secretary. Hope the lechy partner gets his comeuppance once day. Creep

Orwell 14 May 21 18:50

@13:42. Could be to raise awareness. Also could be because stories like these are clickbait for a certain coterie of incel sealions who are guaranteed to increase traffic in the comments.

anon just being transparent 14 May 21 18:52

I can imagine some of these lecherous rainmaking partners are married but in general do MC/SC firms (most notable amount of Sexual harrasment) employ part time Victoria Secret models full time trainee/associates and secetaries .. it appears as if it is out of deseperation these partners just go for females at the firms becuase they can't bag a Adriana Lima/ Candice Swanoepel (32 years old )...no disrespect but I am yet to see a runway model or natural beauty that is worth sabotaging or risking a career over(this goes for both parties involved).. maybe the renowned IMG/Ford model scouts should take a trip to Freshfields (Beckwith scandal) or Clifford Chance(secetary scandal/ alleged sex pool shenanigans) not to mention Linklaters

Can anyone tell me.. did they keep on the Irina Shayk lookalike who was romping the partner over the car bonnet?

Anonymous 14 May 21 19:46

@17.46 - the suggestion isn't that HR investigated and the claim wasn’t substantiated.

The suggestion is that HR didn't investigate.

Anonymous 14 May 21 19:51

@17.46 - your falling into the trap of assuming that all the allegations in the articles are true.

Anonymous 14 May 21 19:53

@13.42 - although the allegations in the article 17.53 refers to turned out to be false.

Anonymous 14 May 21 20:17

@18.46 - thanks, but it isn't optimistic. The reality nowadays is that if the partner was found by HR to have done the things he was accused of (or possibly even if HR didn't believe he had), he'd have been out, rainmaker or no rainmaker. If they sackex the HR person for making these findings then the HR person would get an enormous settlement, enough to retire and the resultant bad publicity would be the end of the firm.

Anon 14 May 21 21:00

To the single poster who’s consistently suggesting these are ‘dubious claims’: you’re either an incel who’s missed the prior 5 years of the #MeToo movement or a fiercely loyal associate reliant on Handsy for career advancement. Any trainee, PA or associate at this firm could quickly validate these events and would likely add further, unreported, pertinent detail implicating ‘Handsy’. 

With regards to the existence of any HR review process; of course one took place. But there’s a misplaced assumption in these comments that would have led to a particular outcome. Handsy is one of the top 3 rainmakers at this firm’s London office and runs the show for this particular team. An HR review under these circumstances is the equivalent of marking your own homework. 

Anon 14 May 21 21:16

@18.46, you’ve obviously never worked in the City before. That’s not how these things work. There are, in fact, a number of ROF articles relating to this particular firm with a consistently reoccurring theme. Every single one of the partners subject to those articles is still employed at this firm. At the end of the day, if you either bring in enough dosh or have the correct political alliances (as is the case with one of the affected partners), the tolerance level for this type of behaviour is set at a very different level than your average billing monkey.

Anonymous 14 May 21 22:35

That's a terrible way to discuss people making false accusations if sexual harassment, Orwell @ 18.50.

It could also of course be because the allegations are quite possibly untrue.

Anonymous 15 May 21 00:18

Sorry 14th @ 21.16, but believing HR would look into an allegation of this type and uphold (or purport to uphold) it, and the only action they would take is to cancel the Christmas party is laughable and doesn't make one an expert on the City.

Which articles are you referring to? You do do realise most of the allegations in the articles turn out not to be true. If the partners referred to in the articles are still there then it is highly unlikely thd allegations in the articles were true.

What political alliances are you referring to?

Anonymous 15 May 21 00:29

14th @ 18.49 - 'alleged victim'. Nobody lost their job. Rainmaker or not, if it had been reported to HR and they found he had done what he was accused of he would no longer be there. But it hasn't been reported to HR. We don't know if the partner was lechy or a creep or whether the source was the creep. Something doesn't add up about this story.

Anonymous 15 May 21 00:31

@2017 - You must work at a much nicer firm (or, with all due respect, be a little naive) - it's very clear from the fact that you think a firm like this would ever outright sack HR (or anyone) and/or pay enough for them to retire in these circumstances.

The 'best' firms handle situations like this quietly and these are some of the most strategic lawyers in the City - it's just a matter of carefully curating the process.

Anon 15 May 21 08:49

Sadly there are Handsys everywhere. And no one seems to care / it’s laughed away. I personally no longer attend work social events (especially those that involve alcohol which is almost all of them) following my encounter with one. 

Anon just being transparent 15 May 21 09:20

Prior to my comment about law firm female associates not being the Adriana Limas and Candice Swanepoels of the world .... why people have disagreed with my comment I will not know... name me a firm with associates who have effortless beauty( that’s worth this much hassle)... AVERAGE at best

Anonymous 15 May 21 09:22

14th @ 21.00/23.41 - so you are alleging that the partner groped someone at the Christmas party, that HR investigated this and found it to be true, but the only action they took was to stop Christmas parties. The SRA, who must have been informed, did nothing. Oh, and anyone who doesn't believe this version of events is either an incel or connected to the partner, and that only one person doubts this version of events. You can see why people might doubt this.

And #Metoo might feel like its been around for 5 years but its less than 4 in reality. And ironically #Metoo has made it all the more certain that if the allegations were true (and possibly even if they weren't), then the partner would no longer be there.

Anonymous 15 May 21 09:44

@00.31 - the suggestion wasn't that the firm would sack HR, that's the whole point. What is naive is to believe that HR would be sacked if they investigated the allegations, found them to be true, and suggested doing more than cancelling the Christmas party. 'Nicer' is misleading - plenty of 'nice' firms get rid of staff based on unfounded allegations due to wanting to be seen to be 'taking all allegations of sexual harassment extremely seriously.

In the case here no complaint was made to HR and there has been no HR investigation.

Anonymous 15 May 21 10:21

@08.49 - there are also false accusations everywhere, often when the accuser has too much to drink. A lot of men avoid work social events because of this. I've never heard of any where people are forced to drink alcohol though.

Anon 15 May 21 11:00

@9:48, hi Mr. Handsy! Trust me when I say that I’m speaking for the majority here; we absolutely believe these claims. 

 

Anonymous 15 May 21 11:16

"You do do realise most of the allegations in the articles turn out not to be true"

Care to provide evidence for that claim?

Anonymous 15 May 21 12:21

@Orwell - the right thing to question here is whether or not the allegations are true. Allegations are not facts, and these ones seem to be falling apart under scrutiny.

Remember, it isn't the secretary complaining here - somebody else has taken it upon themselves to do so.

Anonymous 15 May 21 13:23

It was the fourth or fifth incident at this firm in 24 months. They have a serious culture problem and I am very happy to be out of there.

Anonymous 15 May 21 14:13

@11.00 - hi Mrs Source! I speak for the majority here when I say we don't believe these claims. They're becoming less likely by the minute.

Anonymous 15 May 21 14:19

@11.16 - you see, evidence is important suddenly. But its for the person making the initial allegations to provide evidence if the allegations are disputed, not the other way around. Most of the allegations in the articles turn out not to be true because they are unsubstantiated and when examined are shown to be dubious.

Anonymous 15 May 21 15:27

@13.23 - what were the first three or four incidents, and what is this incident? Describe the serious cultural problem.

Anonymous 15 May 21 16:17

@12.17 - it didn't happen. Clearly both the partner being banned from the Christmas party and the Christmas party being cancelled can't both be true. Clearly HR didn't investigate, find he groped a secretary and ban him from the next Christmas party - that is an absurd suggestion, more so as it is unsubstantiated.

No witnesses have come forward to support the allegations.

When you say 'swept under the carpet again, what do you claim happened before?

 

 

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