Bono antipoverty campaign faces claims of harassment Treated worse than dogs
Former employees at musician’s One Campaign allege they were ‘treated worse than dogs’
Sat 10 Mar 2018 13.08 EST Last modified on Sat 10 Mar 2018 13.30 EST
The anti-poverty campaign co-founded by Bono is being threatened with legal action by former employees who say they were bullied by a senior official for almost four years and that their complaints were not dealt with properly.
The One Campaign, created in 2004 to fight extreme poverty and preventable diseases, launched an investigation after a group of former employees from its Johannesburg office tweeted allegations of management misconduct, claiming that some staff in Africa were “treated worse than dogs”.
The group told an internal inquiry into events between 2011 and 2015 that they were repeatedly ridiculed and belittled, and that a supervisor ordered them to do domestic work at her home at weekends. Another alleged that she was demoted for refusing to become intimate with a foreign government official, after her manager made “sexist and suggestive comments” about her to him.
The allegations were revealed in a letter to members from Gayle Smith, who became One’s chief executive in March 2017. She said One had filed a serious incident report to the Charity Commission earlier this month.
The inquiry found that a former official subjected junior employees to “verbal or email statements such as calling individuals ‘worthless’, ‘stupid’ and an ‘idiot’, at times doing so in front of third parties,” One said.
Smith said the campaign had not been able to corroborate the “appalling claims” that the female employee had been demoted for not becoming intimate with the foreign official, but added: “We do not discount any allegation – we investigate them and will continue to do so should others arise.”
Executive management had “repeatedly tried to address concerns raised by employees, and repeatedly acknowledged their failure in doing so”, One’s investigation concluded.
“The overall evidence from our investigation was sufficient for me to conclude that we needed to own an institutional failure,” Smith said.
Two of the women believed to be the subject of the complaints have strongly denied the allegations, and criticised One’s inquiry as one-sided, claiming they were themselves bullied and discriminated against.Read More...