While David Joseph isn’t seeking vengeance in the same way as, say, Frank Castle (aka The Punisher), who single-handedly wiped out anyone who was remotely involved in the deaths of his wife and children, the former Deloitte Switzerland partner is taking his former employer to court, claiming a formal Deloitte investigation that resulted in him being fired because of “bullying” and “manipulative” behavior was “biased” and “misleading.”
But here’s the thing: The 2018 investigation was the second time Deloitte looked into Joseph’s conduct. In 2015, the firm investigated a complaint that he was “belligerent and disrespectful” and “maintained an atmosphere of fear,” according to court documents seen by the Financial Times. At that time, Joseph was given a “verbal warning to the effect that his conduct was unacceptable.” So it sounds like this guy has some issues and Deloitte has its reasons on why he was finally kicked to the curb.
As President George W. Bush said so eloquently and famously in 2002:
Here’s how we got to this point, according to FT:
David Joseph, a Zurich-based forensic services and financial crime partner, has challenged the decision in the London High Court in which he accused the Big Four accounting firm of breaching the contract he signed when he became a partner of the firm. Deloitte said his claim was “misconceived”.
Deloitte launched a formal investigation into Mr Joseph in late 2018 following complaints about him made through its anonymous “Speak Up” whistleblower hotline, according to legal documents. In July, the firm’s board informed Mr Joseph that it had decided to remove him from the partnership on January 31 2020 and that he would be put on gardening leave with immediate effect.
Court documents filed by Deloitte revealed that the investigation, which was conducted by three senior partners, made a “unanimous” recommendation to the board to remove Mr Joseph from the partnership.
Besides his alleged bullying behavior, which Deloitte said led to a “toxic working environment” and resulted in one staffer being hospitalized with stress, Joseph’s other antics included charging a client for a trip he and his team took to the Singapore Grand Prix, taking 20 of his staff members to Sicily following a major project which although approved “had crossed the line of extravagance,” and being fast and loose with his expense reports, FT reported based on court documents.
The investigation looked at expense claims over several years that included a new scarf [seriously?], a health club membership, an iPhone 6 case, train season tickets and an iPad pro.
Joseph, 45, rejected Deloitte’s allegations and denied any misconduct, according to FT. He said Deloitte “unfairly and unjustly” had refused him the right to appeal his dismissal because of a dispute with the firm over a seven-day deadline.
Joseph is also demanding that Deloitte hold a meeting with all of its equity partners so he can challenge the board’s decision to kick him out of the partnership, according to FT.
Mr Joseph said in court filings that the allegations were “devoid of any corroborative evidence” and that statements about his character “failed to incorporate any contemporaneous written documents … such as [his] superior performance reviews”.
Look, it’s possible the judge decides that Deloitte illegally breached his contract when the firm fired him and Joseph gets his revenge in court. But with an intense light being shined recently on Big 4 firms and male partners who have harassed, bullied, and discriminated against staffers, Joseph has probably already been found guilty in the court of public opinion of being a menace.