“We want our office to be a place where everyone feels safe to ask questions, raise concerns, and trust that issues will be followed up and handled appropriately,” Mr. Gregory said.
“I want to strongly emphasize that we all have a role to play in this area and we continue to encourage all of our partners and staff to speak out against any unacceptable behavior you see or encounter through our ‘Speak Up’ program.”
The associate and staff members were accused of participating in an annual male-only rally internally referred to as the “Section 5-5” event.
During the events, which were revealed by The Australian Financial Review earlier this month, the men involved reportedly rated the company’s five most attractive women, according to the complaint.
The women in the office were unaware of the dinner parties, where the male attendees prepared a list of their female colleagues whom they thought were the most attractive. There were reportedly half a dozen men involved in each event in 2019 and 2020.
The ex-partner also allegedly made threats of assault during a phone call to a former staff member, then repeatedly dialed the number after the call ended and attended a strip club. with PwC staff, including graduates.
On Wednesday, Mr Gregory held a meeting for staff who had worked with the former partner and staff members, asking anyone with further information about the allegations to come forward.
Company management was particularly concerned that bystanders who were aware of the alleged behavior had not spoken out. Mr. Gregory’s prompt action on the matter is intended to alleviate this problem by breaking staff’s reluctance to report allegations of misconduct.
Last September, two senior PwC human resources executives left the company for allegedly racist behavior after one made fun of Chinese accents and the other dressed as a “Wuhan bat” during a company trivia event.
The partners were also fined over the incident, which divided staff due to the prevalence of racism and discrimination within the company.
At rival firm KPMG, staff were fired after attending annual “boys night out” events that featured binge drinking and other “f—ed up” behaviors, such as hiring strippers who would have been billed to the company.
Over the past year, PwC, along with big four rival consultancies Deloitte, EY and KPMG, have started providing data on the level of workplace complaints.
Deloitte, which reports earlier than other firms, investigated 145 misconduct allegations in fiscal year 2022 and found more than half, or 80, were substantiated, leading to the ‘exit’ of 20 consulting firm employees.
In FY21, EY conducted 12 formal workplace investigations and fully or partially substantiated six sexual harassment and bullying complaints, KPMG substantiated 27 workplace misconduct complaints, while that PwC investigated 13 complaints but did not disclose the outcome of those cases.