An accounting partner of a Big Four firm managed to avoid being fired despite saying that he would slap a trainee while she was on company skiing trips.

Neil Hutt, a partner of 16 years with Ernst & Young, was found to have behaved in an ‘obscene and aggressive’ fashion when he remarked to the junior colleague at lunch ‘I’m going to f*** you’, a disciplinary hearing found.

According to the panel, the female trainee was’shocked’ and ‘disappointed’ by the remarks of the 51-year old on an annual EY skiing trip for staff and partners.

Following an investigation in which he said he had ‘taken a joke too far’ the partner was fined £75,000 by the firm but kept his job after agreeing to attend diversity and inclusiveness training.

Neil Hutt, a partner of 16 years with Ernst & Young, has been allowed to keep his job after a panel found to he behaved in an 'obscene and aggressive' fashion towards a junior colleague

Neil Hutt, a partner of 16 years with Ernst & Young, has been allowed to keep his job after a panel found to he behaved in an ‘obscene and aggressive’ fashion towards a junior colleague

He has been reprimanded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales.

At the hearing, it was revealed that Mr Hutt became an accountant in 1992. He also became a partner in EY in 2005.

He currently lives in Reading, Berks and is the head of the EY Transaction Support Team for the telecommunications media and technology sector.

EY had organized a ski vacation for staff members and partners in January 2019. This has now become an annual event.

The trainee accountant was also present, although he had not previously had any contact with Hutt.

A trainee had been talking to a colleague at lunch during one of these days. This was reported to the panel.

It was then that the tribunal learned of Mr Hutt’s statement and Mr Hutt said, “What are you doing today?” Because I’m going to f*** you. And then I’m going to f*** [another colleague]

Although the tribunal was aware that the trainee was shocked and disappointed by the comment, she tried to conceal her feelings.

Mr Hutt told a disciplinary panel he had taken a joke too far. The panel found that his behaviour was aggravated by 'the extreme difference in age and seniority' at Ernst and Young (pictured)

An investigation panel was told by Mr Hutt that he’d taken the joke too far. His behavior was made worse by Ernst and Young’s extreme seniority and age (pictured).

The trainee discussed an earlier incident in the day that she was ‘bashed into’ from the back by a snowboarder.

Mr Hutt interjected and stated: “Ha ha, that’s so funny! I’m going to be bashing you behind your back this afternoon!”

She tried to avoid the comments, but she found them offensive and disturbing.

EY did an internal investigation that the trainee female found uncomfortable and embarrassing. She had to tell senior staff what she heard.

Panelists were told that ‘increasing gossips in the office left her feeling alone, and public attention about the incident had significantly raised her shame and embarrassment to the point where she found it difficult to come into work.

In February 2019, Mr Hutt participated in an internal investigation.

He admitted using the words alleged by the female trainee, except he thought he had said ‘shag’ rather than ‘f***’.

He said that he accepted that the joke was too broad and was stupid to use it, and added that he was embarrassed and mortified by what had occurred.

On March 19, 2019, the firm issued Mr Hutt an ultimative written warning, as well as a financial punishment.

Also, the order was given to him to participate in diversity and inclusivity training as well as to accept to advocate for firm’s culture improvement.

After a July hearing, Mr Hutt was found guilty by the ICAEW of misconduct.

Rosalind Wright QC was the head of the disciplinary tribunal and published a decision at the end last week. It stated: “The misconduct in the case was aggravated due to the extreme difference between age and seniority…in circumstances that the behaviour amounted a abuse of his power and position.

The Tribunal ruled that the behavior described in the complaint was aggressive and obscene.

The Tribunal will seriously consider whether or not this type of behavior is acceptable in the profession. [Mr Hutt’s]He was not allowed to conduct himself in a way that would allow him to continue his membership of the profession.

Had Tribunal held that there was a danger of repeating itself, it would not have any other option than to exclude him from membership in ICAEW.

The Tribunal was, on balance, satisfied that severe reprimanding would be sufficient to protect the public interest. [Mr Hutt]And imposing a financial sanction.

The tribunal fined Mr Hutt £7,000 and ordered him to pay legal costs of £4,895.