Ernst & Young partner accuses firm of brushing off assault complaint

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A partner at Ernst & Young on Wednesday accused the accounting and consulting firm of failing to act when she reported that she had been sexually assaulted by another partner.

In a complaint alleging discrimination and retaliation filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Jessica Casucci, a partner in Ernst & Young’s New York office, accused fellow partner John Martinkat of sexually assaulting her in front of two other male partners in a bar in 2015. The complaint was seen by Reuters.

In an emailed response to a request for comment, Ernst & Young, which is based in London, said, “Ernst & Young is committed to a workplace free of discrimination and harassment of any kind. New information was brought to our attention on April 13, 2018, which we are thoroughly investigating.

“The individual who is the subject of the charge has been placed on administrative leave pending the completion of our investigation. We take all allegations of sexual harassment seriously. Once we conclude our investigation, strong disciplinary actions will be taken against anyone we determine to have violated our policies and/or our Code of Conduct.”

Martinkat could not immediately be reached for comment, and Reuters could not determine if he had an attorney.

Casucci said in the complaint that she reported the assault to the company’s diversity and inclusiveness officer in 2016, after she learned that another woman had been subjected to inappropriate sexual conduct, and decided she needed to take action to protect women at the company.

Casucci said in the complaint that Ernst & Young did not take action against Martinkat, but asked her to speak to an outside employment defense lawyer it had hired, and refused to promise that the interview would not be used in litigation.

Casucci said she was forced to “rebuild her entire book of business from scratch” to avoid working with Martinkat.

“Ms. Casucci’s career trajectory and earning potential have been adversely impacted, while (Ernst & Young) has made sure that Mr. Martinkat’s career has not been affected at all,” the complaint said.

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York