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Raymond James faces sexual harassment charges

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  • | 12:21 a.m. August 18, 2016
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A Raymond James Financial Inc. employee this week filed a formal complaint against the St. Petersburg-based financial services firm, after what she describes as a series of sexual harassment and retaliatory incidents.

Kathryn Wyant, 24, says the firm tolerates a hostile and offensive work environment where sexual harassment and discrimination — along with retaliation — occur, according to documents submitted to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Specifically, she said during a press conference at the offices of public relations firm Hill + Knowlton Strategies on Wednesday that she was subjected to a “college fraternity atmosphere” where alcoholic drinking games and lewd language during work hours were rampant following her May promotion to a position as a Succession Planning and Acquisition Consultant.

Wyant and her attorney, Rogge Dunn, add that Wyant's former boss and others retaliated against her after she complained to Raymond James' Human Resources department.

Since her complaint to the department and return from an administrative leave, Wyant says she has not received additional training offered to others, has not been invited on trips, has been given “intern-type work” and has been ignored by co-workers.

Steve Hollister, a Raymond James spokesman, declined comment on the specifics of Wyant's complaint.

“The firm's policies specifically prohibit harassment in any form,” he says in a statement. “We are committed to taking appropriate action where individuals have violated our policies and, more importantly, our values.”

Hollister's statement also states that Raymond James, a company with about 10,000 employees and annual revenue of roughly $5 billion, “is committed to providing a work environment free of discrimination and in which people are treated with courtesy, consideration and respect.”

Wyant's complaint also alleges that in one incident, she was pressured to “get on her knees” and “chug” a bottle of Smirnoff Ice in a supervisor's office where several male co-workers were present.

When she refused, she was further pressured into drinking the alcoholic beverage while standing, and the incident was videotaped against her will.

In response to Wyant's meeting with human resources, Raymond James demoted her supervisor and suggested she return to her former job, which she refused.

The company later terminated Wyant's supervisor after receiving correspondence from Dunn, her attorney, the EEOC complaint notes.


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