Lloyd's of London staff told to behave at Christmas parties

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Underwriters working on the floor of the Lloyds Building. Photo: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

Thousands of staff at Lloyd’s of London, the illustrious insurance market, have been warned to behave during the Christmas period, with CEO John Neal calling it a “challenging time of the year”.

The warning comes ahead of the Lloyd’s Christmas party, which is due to be held on Friday evening, and after a turbulent year during which the company contended with allegations of sexual harassment.

Neal told Financial News on Friday that the email had been sent to some 45,000 staff at Lloyd’s and its member companies, and served as a reminder of the standards expected of them.

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“We’ve asked people to be particularly careful and remind their staff of the standards of behaviour that they would expect, including at Christmas parties,” he said.

The City of London institution earlier this week erected posters in the toilets of pubs close to its Lime Street headquarters, advising staff to report instances of sexual harassment.

“Uninvited advances or physical contact. That's not a joke, that’s harassment,” one of the posters reads.

The 331-year-old institution is often said to be one of the few remaining bastions of the boozy and inappropriate culture associated with City financiers.

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A Bloomberg report from earlier in the year painted a portrait of a company where women face “near-persistent harassment” including sexual assault, unwanted touching, leering, and inappropriate comments.

According to an independent survey that was commissioned by Lloyd’s in the wake of the report, 8% of employees reported having seen harassment over the period of a year.

Some 22% of respondents to the survey said that staff in Lloyd’s had “turned a blind eye to inappropriate behaviour”.

“We must address the negative actions and behaviours that have for too long gone unspoken and with impunity,” Neal said after the report was released in September.