Northern Gas and Power Statement
We would like to take this opportunity to respond further to recent tabloid articles regarding the outcome of an employment tribunal, whereby a complaint from a former employee was upheld in relation to allegations of discrimination of sexual orientation and post-employment victimisation.
By way of an introduction, Northern Gas and Power are a very proud, openly diverse organisation with a zero-tolerance approach to any forms of harassment or discrimination. NGP employ over 750 people worldwide, including 30 nationalities. In the UK we employ over 400 people, with our last voluntary survey showing that 10% of our workforce identified as LGBT, which is significantly higher than the 2.7% national average.
Our richly diverse workforce is governed by comprehensive policies and procedures to ensure we continue to retain and attract employees who are from an LGBT and/or from an ethnic minorities background. Our award-winning culture also assists in making the working environment vibrant and inclusive. All of the team at NGP are extremely proud of what they have achieved since the company was founded back in 2013.
The success of the company including the awards we have received, have only been made possible through the strengths of our diverse and highly-engaged workforce. That is why the complaint made by the ex-employee has had a profound impact on all those who are connected with NGP.
Sadly, neither our HR department nor the Senior Management team were made aware of the allegations at the time of the incidents in 2019. Had the individual reported the incidents to the HR department or a member of the senior management team, a full investigation would have taken place in line with our company grievance procedure, followed by robust action in line with our company procedures. This was not the case and NGP were only made aware of these allegations whilst pursuing a separate legal matter in relation to the former employee’s conduct.
The company was not made aware of the severity and full extent of the discriminatory behaviour until during the tribunal proceedings, where text messages from a private and personal WhatsApp group were shared by the individual. This WhatsApp chat group was set up by employees of our satellite Leeds office and used for social and non-work-related purposes. The group contained both the victim and the abusers, and this is where much of the alleged abuse took place. Northern Gas and Power had no way of knowing the existence and discriminatory contents of this chat group, some of which was only revealed to us on the day of the tribunal. This in no way excuses what happened. Our view is that this sort of behaviour should not take place anywhere, ever. Had we known about it, we would have made a stand to protect the victim’s and everyone else’s rights.
The comments made by individual employees back in 2019 were entirely the views of those individuals and do not represent the views of NGP. We can also confirm that all the individuals involved in the incident are no longer employed by NGP. NGP accept that lessons need to be learnt in relation to this regrettable situation. We will use the learning from the tribunal to improve our existing policies and procedures to ensure everyone within the organisation is aware of their individual responsibilities towards creating an inclusive culture with a zero-tolerance approach to victimisation and discrimination.
Whilst we do not expect any repeat and have had no further complaints of this nature since, any further instances would result in a thorough investigation in line with our employee code of conduct and respectful working environment policies. Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to offer sincere apologies to all who have been impacted by this situation including the individual who regrettably experienced those behaviours.
The actions of the individuals within the Leeds office were not a representation of the other employees employed by NGP and we will strive to ensure we use the lesson learnt positively to shape the future of our organisation. NGP is extremely proud to employ such a diverse workforce and have always been supportive of all minority groups, including people from the LGBT community and those of different ethnic backgrounds. We will continue to create a culture, which our foundations were built on, creating a great, inclusive place to work. We continue to commit to working with all our employees to ensure there is mutual trust and appreciation.