BFM89.9 has fired two employees on allegations of sexual harassment, following an investigation by the independent investigating committee comprising independent lawyers. In a Facebook statement, founder Malek Ali said the board panel consisting of current and former non-executive independent directors of BFM, concluded that there is “sufficient evidence” to justify this course of action.
The management team at BFM was first made aware of the sexual harassment allegations made in an anonymous letter in May 2017, which was subsequently circulated in December 2018. While the management team did not make a police report in 2017, as the complainant did not wish to escalate the matter, Malek said it commenced an investigation and “took the highest form of disciplinary action” by dismissing the accused employee.
In a previous statement, however, Malek said the station is “unable to confirm any of the situations described” in the anonymous email, and that it takes all allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct seriously. The statement was released after the anonymous email alleged that no action was taken by the management despite them learning of the sexual harassment occurring at the station.
According to Malek, the BFM management team acknowledges that more could have been done to proactively gather evidence so that such misconduct could have been addressed in a more timely manner.
“Following the recommendations of the board, the BFM management team is committed to improving its structure for employees to report any grievances they may have. Complaints will be handled impartially and it is our intention to have this structure in place within four weeks,” he said.
He added that BFM is also reviewing its existing internal policies and guidelines to ensure that its employees feel assured that they work in a safe environment. As part of the review, training and awareness programmes will be instituted for all employees, “clearly” laying out the parameters of acceptable and unacceptable workplace conduct, as well as the consequences for transgressions.
Malek also previously described the allegations to be “upsetting and distressing” for employees and that the welfare of its employees has always been its first priority.