Just like in the movies; executives are being forced to pay female employees after using seedy corporate entertainment in scenes like in the movie The Wolf Of Wall Street. In the movie penny stockbrokers in the ’80 and 90’s are seen binging on women, there’s even an orgy scene on the trading floor.
Attorney Michael Harmer, known in court as “The Undertaker” revealed how strippers and brothels have cost Australian companies millions. In 2013 a West Australian pub was fined after a “skimpy” barmaid appeared completely naked. The local mayor said mining towns across the state are trying to distance themselves from their association with topless barmaids. He claimed companies paid from $1 million to $3.5 million in out of court settlements in sexual harassment cases to keep their reputations intact.
He told the Financial Review that where alcohol and degradation of women is used as entertainment, you can get an overstepping of the mark by either other employees or clients. He even described how he’d heard of global chairman charging brothels to his corporate credit card.
Today female employees are suing bosses for having to endure a culture where harassment and discrimination is commonplace. The landmark case was a female employee versus a leading Australian accountancy firm. The employee complained she was blighted with a “boys’ club” culture of harassment. She received an out of court settlement in 2008 believed to be worth about $5million to $6million plus legal costs, from the firm. Although the company has always denied the claims.
A chief executive of a leading retail firm was triggered to resign because of a 25 year old woman’s sexual harassment complaint. Her $37 million lawsuit against the company, the executive and nine directors of the retailer was settled for $850,000 including a ‘smaller’ contribution from the offending party.
A former managing partner of Australia’s leading workplace lawyers said at the time many such cases were never revealed in public. He also said that most of his clients are employers but they don’t appreciate the significance of these issues until they have been burnt.