Three people of color who worked at Bloomberg LP warned alma mater against letting company recruit

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  • Three employees of color who worked at Bloomberg LP found the culture so toxic that they wrote a letter to their alma mater, a historically black college, urging it to discontinue recruiting efforts with the company.
  • That's one of the findings in a Business Insider investigation that involved interviews with more than 40 current and former Bloomberg LP employees.
  • "The experiences shared with me range from being solicited for sexual favors to get ahead, to young women in their first year of work taking medical leave based on their severe emotional and mental stress experienced at the organization," wrote the author of the letter, who didn't respond to requests for comment. Two other Bloomberg employees helped draft the letter. 
  • The letter was sent in 2019 to the school's president and to its director of career planning and development. Business Insider has agreed not to name the school to protect the author's identity.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

 

Bloomberg LP, the financial data and media company founded by Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg, has a culture that's so toxic for some people of color that three women who worked there sent a letter to their alma mater, a historically black college, urging the school to stop working with the company to recruit on campus. 

That's one of the findings in a weeks-long investigation conducted by Business Insider into the company's culture. The investigation involved interviews with more than 40 current and former Bloomberg LP employees and found allegations of a toxic, macho workplace culture fueled by fear, in which powerful people screamed at underlings and bullied them with impunity. When they reported claims of inappropriate behavior to human resources, these staffers said, they were routinely ignored.

For the three young people of color, the culture was so bad that they were moved to draft a letter warning their old college about the company. 

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Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during his campaign launch of "Mike for Black America," at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg acknowledges supporters after speaking at a campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg greets supporters after speaking at a campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks at a campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg arrives to speak at a campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during a campaign rally at the Buffalo Soldier Museum in Houston, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stands at right. (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg greets supporters after speaking at a campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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Business Insider obtained a copy of the letter, which described Bloomberg LP as a "toxic and demoralizing system." It was sent in 2019 to the school's president and to its director of career planning and development.

The letter was signed by a graduate of the school, who helped recruit for Bloomberg before leaving the company. She didn't respond to a request for comment. But it was drafted with the help of two other alumnae of the same school who worked at Bloomberg. Business Insider has agreed not to name the school in order to protect the author's identity.

"This organization does not have people of color sitting on their management committee, or in visible senior leadership roles, and the ones that do have direct reports have acted in irrepressible ways towards young women of color," the letter reads. "The experiences shared with me range from being solicited for sexual favors to get ahead, to young women in their first year of work taking medical leave based on their severe emotional and mental stress experienced at the organization. Bloomberg LP will spend money investing in unconscious bias conversations but fail to acknowledge the conscious decision-making had by a select few that continue to marginalize people at the company."

"They definitely don't know how to support people of color."

One of the women who helped draft the letter, who no longer works at Bloomberg, said she was moved to warn the school because Bloomberg was a frequent participant in campus career fairs, and she worried that the company was not a welcoming environment for graduates.

"They definitely don't know how to support people of color," this person said. "They want diverse people so they can have it on paper, but once those people get there, there's no support."

A person of color who currently works at Bloomberg told Business Insider that her colleagues and supervisor have made condescending and belittling comments to her and exhibit a lack of awareness about how to support employees of color. She said more people of color should be at the table for internal discussions about inclusion, retention, and bias in the workplace.

"I would say from my experience some people are aware of what they call a diversity issue [at Bloomberg LP] but, overall, as a company, I don't think things are getting better," the current employee told Business Insider. "If they were trying to get better, it's because of [Mike Bloomberg] running for election and wanting to please people, but I wouldn't say they are getting better."

"I believe that they have convinced themselves that they want to do better," the letter says of Bloomberg LP. "However, unless they do the real work necessary to changing the toxic aspects of their culture, then they shouldn't be able to continue to mistreat and attempt to break [female graduates]. Please strongly consider removing them as a partner, allowing them to visit our campus, having them speak in our classrooms or host events with our students. It is truly the only way to guarantee that another [female graduate] will not have to endure this experience immediately after college. In addition, it serves as a reminder that we protect our own."

A Bloomberg LP spokesperson said the company had never seen the letter and couldn't comment on it, but that in 2015 Mike Bloomberg launched a "company-wide review of the company's diversity landscape and commissioned a company-wide effort to promote equality across the business, resulting in the hiring of the company's first Chief Diversity Officer later that year." These efforts pre-date Mike Bloomberg's presidential campaign, the spokesperson said, adding "we are dedicated to attracting, hiring, retaining, and advancing top diverse talent at Bloomberg, globally.

READ OUR FULL STORY: "More than 40 current and former Bloomberg LP employees reveal the company's abusive 'trading floor' culture, where Mike Bloomberg and his colleagues allegedly called women 'SFUs' for 'short fat and ugly,' and women complained about a senior newsroom leader's unwanted massages for years."

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