A TikTok video from a fired Charles Schwab employee has Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger vowing that there will be an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation, according to news reports.
The video, reposted to LinkedIn by Cortney Kotzian, a principal relationship manager in self-directed plan services at Schwab, alleges that a manager in her TD Ameritrade department’s office in Omaha, Nebraska, identified only as "Samuel," pestered her in November 2019 for not wearing a hoodie on a hoodie-themed casual dress day. Kotzian claims that eventually the manager threatened her.
"What I can do is get your home address off of PeopleSoft and drive to your house Friday morning, tie you up, take that off and force you into a hoodie," Kotzian claims Samuel said on the video. "I told him he crossed the line and needed to leave me alone."
Kotzian tells FA-IQ sister publication Ignites that she reported the harassment to human resources, but instead of investigating the matter, the firm started removing her from desirable projects while her direct manager “nitpicked” her work.Kotzian says TD Ameritrade HR executives told her they looked into her complaint about retaliation but found no evidence of it, according to Ignites.
According to Kotzian, the retaliation continued: She was “monitored excessively” when she started working from home due to the pandemic last year, while repeated technology issues prevented her from working, eventually contributing to her termination from the firm without severance in May this year, the publication writes.
“Women who get into leadership positions are the ones who don’t complain about stuff,” she said, according to Ignites. “I noticed the whole time I was there that if you did complain about this kind of harassment, it got counted against you.”
In response to Kotzian’s TikTok repost on LinkedIn about the matter, Bettinger appended a LinkedIn post to the TikTok video, according to the publication.
"Harassment is unacceptable at Schwab," Bettinger wrote in the post, according to Ignites. "We have a zero tolerance policy. We will investigate and take appropriate action."
Kotzian tells the publication that she put up with the retaliation in the hope that her allegations would be taken seriously at Schwab, which acquired TD Ameritrade in October 2020.
A Schwab spokesperson tells Ignites that the firm has retained outside counsel to review Kotzian's allegations, adding that “[h] arassment is unacceptable at Schwab and we take every allegation seriously.”
A spokesperson for Boston Mutual Life Insurance — where Kotzian said her alleged harasser now works — said the firm would investigate the matter but didn’t comment further, according to the publication.
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