His Boss Showed Him Her Breast, He Ended Up Ruined

Mike Picarella's attempts to report the alleged sexual harassment killed his career
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2018 10:35 AM CDT
Updated Jul 28, 2018 5:00 PM CDT
He Was a Banker on the Rise. Then a Colleague Began Crying
The HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Think your job is bad? Brace yourself for the tale of Mike Picarella. When he joined HSBC in May 2011 after a two-decade Wall Street career, the future looked bright. He reported to Eileen Hedges, and the intention was for him to become her—to eventually assume her managing director position, take in half a million in salary and bonuses a year, and see her rise to some even higher level. "Both of them were poised to get exactly what they wanted," writes David Dayen in a lengthy piece for HuffPost. But then he started seeing "Jill" crying. Picarella ultimately came to realize the junior analyst on their team couldn't bear Hedges' treatment of her. Picarella's own experience with Hedges was a brash one: He claims she regularly made crude sexual jokes and once exposed her breast to him to show how her weight-loss surgery had changed the look of her nipple.

But with Jill, he claims things went a step further: that Hedges regularly strong-armed her into coming to the Windfall, a nearby bar where Hedges would allegedly proffer the young and attractive Jill to HSBC execs and top clients. The men would allegedly touch or speak to her inappropriately, and Picarella says Hedges would subsequently spread sexual tales about Jill at work. As 2011 wrapped up, things were going great for Picarella, who received a strong performance review from Hedges. Dayen writes he had managed to bring efficiency to internal processes and secured the OK for the bank to sell Japanese government bonds in the US. But Hedges' behavior bugged him, particularly when it came to Jill, whom he wanted to help. So in April he went to HR for looking for counsel. What followed instead: "years of acrimony, the firings, the lawsuits, the trial with the surprise decision." And Dayen details it all. Read the full piece here. (More Longform stories.)

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