Ernst & Young partner settles complaint over sexual assault

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ernst & Young has reached a settlement with Jessica Casucci, a partner who accused the firm of failing to act when she reported that she was sexually assaulted by another partner, the firm said Thursday.

“Jessica Casucci and (Ernst & Young) have reached a fair and equitable confidential settlement of this matter that involves Jessica leaving the firm,” Ernst & Young and Casucci’s lawyer Michael Willemin said in a joint statement. “We are pleased to have reached this resolution.”

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.

Martinkat, who was not a party to Casucci’s complaint, has been fired, Ernst & Young spokesman John La Place said Thursday. Reuters was not immediately able to reach him for comment.

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.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York