“While we strive for a culture of respect and belonging, some of our people have experienced the firm in a way that is not inclusive,” Manish Mehta, BlackRock’s global head of human resources, said February 19. “Whether the behaviors that cause this are intended or not, they are not acceptable and impact our colleagues and culture.”
A former BlackRock analyst, Essma Bengabsia, posted February 1 about encountering sexual harassment and facing discrimination as an Arab-American Muslim woman. When she complained after facing taunts for not wearing a Christmas sweater, the HR department did little to address her concerns, she noted.
A day earlier, Bengabsia and another former analyst from Kenya, Mugi Nguyai, wrote in a different post that they were “labeled as difficult, aggressive, or too outspoken to manage” when both tried to make their concerns known.
Both Bengabsia and Nguyai requested an independent review of all internal harassment reports. A BlackRock spokesman noted in a statement following a review of Bengabsia’s compliant that the firm “…did not find she had been the subject of discrimination or harassment.” The spokesman would not comment about Nguyai’s compliant.