Motley Fool Australia

IOOF (ASX:IFL) execs accused of sexual harassment

Judge's gavel and justice scales
Image source: Getty Images

IOOF Holdings Limited (ASX: IFL) has been taken to court over alleged sexual harassment and discrimination by 2 male executives on the same female colleague.

The finance firm’s deputy chief investment officer Stanley Yeo is accused in court papers of making derogatory remarks and touching the woman inappropriately multiple times, as first reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.

This included an alleged incident at the woman’s wedding where, as a guest, Yeo is accused of touching her breasts in front of family and friends.

Head of fixed interest assets Osvaldo Acosta is also accused of sexual discrimination.

The court papers allege that after the woman suggested she offer her input on a work case, he retorted “You always give your opinion. Not only do I have a wife at home, I have you here in the office”.

The female executive is alleging that IOOF exposed her to a workplace that was hostile to women and that the male executives caused her embarrassment, humiliation and distress.

She is seeking reparations for loss of opportunity, loss of future income, plus damages for humiliation and distress.

An IOOF spokesperson said the company would defend itself and “takes these matters very seriously”.

“IOOF is confident that it has acted appropriately at all times and continues to support the legal process,” the spokesperson said.

“IOOF is committed to providing a safe and secure environment that embraces diversity.”

The latest finance industry scandal comes after AMP Ltd (ASX: AMP) spent most of last year cleaning up the controversy from its appointment of Boe Pahari to CEO of AMP Capital after he faced serious sexual harassment allegations.

After justifying the promotion, shareholder pressure forced two directors to eventually depart the company and Pahari was put back into his old role.

Touching is fine because I’m gay: woman allegedly told

The court documents depict Yeo was told from the very first instance of touching that it was not appropriate.

This allegedly occurred at a Melbourne bar after the company’s 2018 Christmas party.

He is accused of touching the woman’s breast then laughing it off and doing it again when told the behaviour was inappropriate.

Yeo allegedly said that it didn’t matter if he touched her in that way because he is gay.

Acosta, when he was working at the same level as the woman, is accused of interfering in her work by making changes without consulting her.

He was later promoted to head of fixed interest assets to become her boss. The woman alleges she was denied a chance to compete for the role because of her gender.

In October, the woman’s job was made redundant but she was invited to apply for a new position that another colleague was already competing for. The woman declined to apply and left the company.

IOOF’s shares are up 1.36% in Friday trade, hitting $3.73.

These Dividend Stocks Could Be Your Next Cash Kings (FREE REPORT)

Motley Fool Australia's Dividend experts recently released a brand-new FREE report revealing 3 dividend stocks with JUICY franked dividends that could keep paying you meaty dividends for years to come.

Our team of investors think these 3 dividend stocks should be a 'must consider' for any savvy dividend investor. But more importantly, could potentially make Australian investors a heap of passive income.

Don't miss out! Simply click the link below to grab your free copy and discover these 3 high conviction stocks now.

Returns As of 15th February 2021

Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo owns shares of IOOF Holdings Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

Related Articles…

Tony Yoo
Latest posts by Tony Yoo (see all)