James Moore: The City's 'locker room code' can be pretty hard to accept

Outlook On the face of it, big employers in the City are on a different planet to the Miami Dolphins American football team. On the face of it.

The Dolphins hit the headlines on both sides of the Atlantic after a report exposed a toxic "locker room code" that led to the offensive lineman Jonathan Martin walking out in distress.

This would appear far removed from what goes on the City, whose employees wear suits, not body armour, ply their trade in air-conditioned offices rather than fields surrounded by baying fans, and who at the outset are handed dense employee handbooks detailing acceptable conduct.

All the same, the principles enshrined in those handbooks and what occurs in practice frequently diverge sharply; the City has its own "locker room" codes that are often no less destructive than the one operated by those Dolphins.

These include never questioning the conduct of the rainmakers, especially if you are classified on the balance sheet as a "cost", as compliance or risk people are.

Staff need to "get on" with colleagues to get ahead. That means never rocking the boat, and accepting the boss's conduct as sacrosanct and their word as law. If someone should approach the HR department with concerns, it is they who should expect to face questions.

The junior, or the intern, must not under any circumstances raise a whisper of complaint. If that means pulling a succession of "all-nighters", then so be it. If that means getting the hairdryer treatment from the boss (see above) for putting a figure in the wrong column on the spreadsheet after one of those all-nighters, so be it.

One former banker told me that their industry essentially ran on "bullying and bullshit" and that this hadn't changed despite all the scandals and subsequent promises of reform.

It says it all that a very senior banker was salivating in my presence at the prospect of getting his hands on "hungry young people" from Eastern Europe. People who presumably, in his mind, wouldn't shirk at the prospect of hundreds of all-nighters.

It isn't just banking, either. Have a look at some of the reports of employment tribunals in accountancy, broking or insurance.

Of course, it isn't like that everywhere in the City, just as it isn't every NFL team whose members treat the more sensitive and introverted personalities like Martin in the way certain Dolphins did. But there are plenty of places where something nasty lurks beneath an outwardly civilised veneer. As my ex-banker friend says, the industry is still running on a combination of… but you know the rest.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Guru Careers: Communications Exec / PR Exec

£25 - £30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a highly-motivated and ambitious Comm...

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral