Former Grant Thornton SA director Nerisha Singh speaks out about claims of sexual harassment and how she believes the company tried to cover it up. Singh contacted The Eusebius McKaiser Show to share her story.
Grant Thornton has agreed to listen to Nerisha's account and respond.
Nerisha describes the sense of relief she felt once the disciplinary process was over.
I remember going in to the office the next day feeling a sense of relief that I no longer had to deal with this perpetrator in my work environment and in my personal space.— Nerisha Singh, former director Grant Thornton SA
She says the deputy CEO asked her to stay on at the company. She felt she needed to discuss this with her family and partner as she had suffered a traumatic experience. They told her to stay if she felt safe and she retracted her resignation and decided to stay.
But later, to her shock, she discovered the company had only intended to keep her on for another three months. Once she realised that the company would not restore her permanent position, she decided that she would proceed with constructive dismissal as well as the sexual harassment and discrimination case.
She was called to a meeting with the deputy CEO Gillian Saunders.
She said it's not good news for you. You can stay until the end of March. We are now letting you go. She said the main reason we are letting you go is because of your attitude in asserting your labour law rights.— Nerisha Singh, former director Grant Thornton SA
She then went on to say to me, 'you are a black female, you can get a job anywhere.'...adding that the directors upstairs took an unfavourable view of me since my complaints of sexual harassment....she said “think of the goodwill if you just leave quietly”.— Nerisha Singh, former director Grant Thornton SA
She says she felt 're-victimised' or subject to what is termed secondary victimisation. Nerisha says the deputy CEO encouraged her not to take the process further.
I just wanted to be restored to my permanent position...I was hoping they would change their mind. Because once the perpetrator had absconded, and was no longer part of the business, I also saw this as an opportunity to hit the reset button.— Nerisha Singh, former director Grant Thornton SA
She describes how humiliated she felt when she left.
But she was determined to fight thisand hold the compnay responsible for her secondary victimisation. So she went to the CCMA on 9 March and registered a case of constructive dismissal and a case of sexual harassment, harassment and discrimination. She also registered a case at the Gender Equality Commission.
She says then on Tuesday morning,
This morning (26 March) I received a call from one of the partners. I could not take her call at the time and she left a voicemail saying Nerisha the leadership has met...and have decided to offer you your job back.— Nerisha Singh, former director Grant Thornton SA
Within the hour she had received an email with an offer of employment.
Nerisha says there is no way she can return to an environment that she no longer trusts.
Listen to Nerisha Singh's story: