OUTLOOK: Bullying culture in the City bears a striking resemblance to Dolphins locker room

 

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

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

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

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 people from compliance or risk are.

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

The junior, or the intern, must not under any circumstances raise a whisper of complaint about anything. 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 nighers, so be it. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

One former banker told me that their industry essentially runs on “bullying and bullshit” and that this hasn’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 casting a light on the treatment of members of the accountancy, broking, or insurance industries.

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
Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
people
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn