Grant Thornton Johannesburg chief executive Paul Badrick. File Photo: IOL

JOHANNESBURG – Business Report can today reveal that embattled Grant Thornton Johannesburg chief executive Paul Badrick is back at work after he was cleared of the sexual harassment allegations laid against him.

Serena Ho, the chairperson of the governing board at Grant Thornton Johannesburg, said yesterday that the company had structured policies and procedures for dealing with sexual harassment complaints. 

“Sexual harassment allegations levelled against Mr Badrick have been dismissed in an independent investigation by attorneys Norton Rose Fulbright and he has returned to work,” Ho said.  

“The independent legal review found only one complainant… she (the complainant) left the employ of the firm towards the end of last year.”

The sexual harassment allegations against Badrick came to light during an investigation by Grant Thornton International Limited (GTIL).  

The alleged harassment was said to have taken place in 2015.   

Badrick had decided to step aside in June after the allegations came to light. Ho said the Norton Rose report was sent to the firm at the end of June.  

GTIL could not be reached for comment. However, GTIL in June had hit out at what it claimed was its Johannesburg unit’s handling of prior sexual allegations against a senior executive at the Johannesburg unit. 

“The Johannesburg firm’s management failed, in these instances, to address inappropriate behaviours that were at odds with what we expect from our senior leaders,” GTIL said at the time.  

This was in reaction to its mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations by Grant Thornton South Africa’s former head of forensics, Vernon Naidoo.  

In March, Nerisha Singh, a former director at the firm, recounted her trauma after her employment was terminated when she laid a complaint of sexual harassment against Naidoo.

Ironically, it was Badrick who in March said the firm had undertaken a review of how it handled the sexual harassment levelled against Naidoo. 

Meanwhile, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) yesterday said that Singh had since settled the matter amicably. 

The “amicable” settlement was confirmed by Grant Thornton. The company said in an emailed response that “the complaint has been withdrawn. The matter has been settled amicably.”

The company could not, however, be drawn to reveal what an amicable agreement meant in the circumstances.  

Singh was not immediately available to comment.

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- BUSINESS REPORT