A class action lawsuit has been filed against IP network provider Radianz and its parent companies Reuters and Equant, claiming that a pattern and practice of racial discrimination existed at Radianz against African-American employees.
Lawyers representing two current and one former employee allege that they were subjected to systematic abuse at Radianz, including racist e-mails, hostile working environments, prejudiced compensation and promotion policies and discriminatory business practices.
Radianz has firmly rebutted the allegations. In a statement, the company says: "Radianz treats with the utmost seriousness any allegations or complaints by an employee of any discriminatory or harassing actions or treatment of any kind in its workplace and has zero tolerance for such conduct."
The firm says that one employee has been sacked and three others reprimanded following the distribution of offensive e-mails that were in violation of company policy. The company says that other accusations levelled against the group were investigated and found to be without foundation. One of the employees named in the suit was dismissed in January "for attendance issues and for violation of Radianz policy".
The firm says that attempts by lawyers to interject Reuters and Equant into the proceedings "is inappropriate and appears to be a bald attempt to draw attention to this matter by naming more well-known and larger entities".
The news of the law suit comes as Steven Horkulak, a former senior managing director at broking firm Cantor Fitzgerald, won almost one million pounds in damages after being forced out of the firm by abusive behaviour from his boss, Lee Amaitis.
The High Court in London found Cantor Fitzgerald guilty of breaching Horkulak's contract following the treatment he received from Amaitis. Horkulak, who joined the firm in Februrary 1997, said Amaitis routinely bullied and shouted abuse at him over the six months before he left the firm in June 2000, threatening to "break him into two" and "rip (his) head off". Amaitis denied charges he was unreasonably abusive, but said he did swear and shout at staff, including senior managers.
Horkulak's contract was to run until September 2002 and he claimed damages for loss of salary and discretionary bonus.
The judge, Mr Justice Newman, said the lawsuit raised serious questions about work culture in the City of London.
Other similar cases have exposed a seemingly intolerant macho City culture in which racism and sexism appear rampant. In one high-profile case, Laurent Weinberger, a Jewish former employee of Tullett & Tokyo Liberty, complained that he was asked to dress up in a Nazi uniform for being late.