'We were wrong': ANZ CEO apologises to employee grilled over her rape
ANZ Bank's CEO Shayne Elliott has apologised to a former employee who was interrogated by the bank's legal team in New York about her sexual history, describing the questioning as "wrong and not acceptable".
Mr Elliott took to social media on Saturday in a series of tweets following calls for him to respond to the incident, after various customers said they were considering changing to other banks.
"I apologise. This is wrong & not acceptable. We were not aware of our external NY lawyers [sic] strategy & should have been. We have instructed them that this is not to be used during trial & and [sic] I will apologise to the complainant personally," he wrote on Saturday.
Mr Elliott's apologies followed revelations that the bank's legal representatives forced a former employee to recount details of her sexual assault which took place when she was at college years earlier, and state whether she had any sexually transmitted diseases.
The questioning, which occurred during a deposition a year ago, was in relation to the former senior ANZ trader's claim that she experienced sexual and racial harassment while working at ANZ Bank in New York.
On Saturday Mr Elliott acknowledged that the line of questioning was done by people "acting in his interests", and did not contest suggestions by a commenter on social media that the questioning amounted to "emotional abuse" or "infliction of trauma".
"I am not defending that in the least. It was wrong. We were wrong. Our people and our lawyers were wrong. A serious line was crossed," Mr Elliott wrote.
Mr Elliott wrote that he was "not blaming the lawyers" and agreed that ANZ "should have known their strategy", after commenters suggested that "lawyers act on client's instructions".
"I clearly said we should have known their strategy and we did not. We did not manage this properly. We are at fault. No debate," he wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
The bank will apologise privately and publicly to the woman, Mr Elliott said.
Responses on Twitter to Mr Elliott's comments have been divided, with some praising him for "the ownership and apology" regarding the incident, and others saying they found it "hard to believe" the bank did not know about the external lawyers' tactics.
The former employee's deposition, revealed by a transcript made available last month, was part of the ongoing multi-million dollar workplace discrimination claim filed against the bank and its head of corporate sales America Ravi Nursey.
with Sarah Danckert
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