Aon Risk Services Under Federal Investigation: #MeToo Allegations

Aon Risk Services Southwest, a division of Aon plc,  a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, is currently under federal investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and is facing a formal complaint filed by the  National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The allegations before the NLRB are for allegedly  engaging in unfair labor practices, namely for firing  our client in retaliation for engaging in protected concerted activities with other employees for the purposes of mutual aid and protection, by discussing sexual harassment, work environment harassment and sex discrimination in the office with other employees and by complaining about that conduct to Aon. She alleges in her EEOC charge that she was fired as a result of her sex harassment, hostile work environment and sex discrimination complaints to Human Resources at Aon.

Our client, a former employee of Aon’s Houston office, has retained our Houston employment law firm to represent her in these proceedings. After being sexually harassed by a representative of a multi-million-dollar client of Aon,  our client filed a formal complaint with Aon’s HR department. She alleged that the company representative  said that he would not give her their business unless she had sex with him.

Aon proceeded to conduct a formal investigation. During the investigation, our client also raised concerns and complained about the “frat house” culture at Aon’s Houston office.  In particular, our client alleges that in her repeated conversations with Managing Director, Tracey Erwin  and Managing Director  Eli Sakellakis she informed her direct management  about the hostile work environment at Aon, and no actions were ever taken by management to correct the violations.

Our client states that during the investigation, she discussed with Aon’s HR department numerous occasions where co-worker Jimmy Winters behaved inappropriately with both male and female co-workers, but this behavior was dismissed according to our client. The Houston office for Aon Global Energy (Aon plc) where our client worked, is under the direction of CEO, Bruce Jefferis.

While it is alleged that Aon’s own HR department eventually concluded that our client  was indeed sexually harassed by an Aon client, the investigation aimed at their own work environment concluded much differently.  In fact, before any conclusions were formally made, Aon allegedly retaliated against our client by isolating her, attempting to negatively characterize her work product, and quickly and abruptly firing her, for an alleged breach of Aon’s Code of Business Conduct, according to her EEOC charge.

Considering the recent #MeToo and #TimesUp movement and its uncovering of sexual discrimination and inequality against women in all aspects of business, it is no surprise that a global corporation like Aon has found itself on the receiving end of a formal NLRB complaint and EEOC charge. A formal hearing at the NLRB is scheduled before a judge on March 25, and the EEOC is currently investigating the EEOC charge.

For further information, Bruce Coane, a Houston Employment Lawyer and Miami Employment Lawyer, may be contacted at 713.850.0066 or at bruce.coane@gmail.com

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