Düsseldorf SAP is facing serious allegations in the USA. The Bloomberg news agency reported on Friday that the Dax group had mishandled reports of possible rapes. SAP rejects this.
However, the allegations reported by Bloomberg weigh heavily: two anonymous employees claim that they were raped by a male colleague in the hotel room after events of the software company in 2018 and 2019 in the USA. Both women believed that a drug had previously been smuggled into their drink.
After the two separate incidents, the victims complained to SAP. The human resources department had questioned the accused men. They described the sex as consensual and claimed the women were drunk. After that, the investigations were stopped, no guilt had been proven.
According to Bloomberg, the financial service has spoken with the two women and with seven other current and current employees who reported assaults and harassment. “We take all allegations of misconduct and criminal behavior extremely seriously,” SAP said in a statement on Friday.
However, the allegations could become an image problem for the software company. This is particularly tricky in the USA, the most important market for SAP. At EUR 8.9 billion, the Group generated around 30 percent of its sales there last year. But the incident could also have a negative impact in the fight with other IT companies for talent. SAP had explicitly committed itself to the promotion of women.
SAP emphasizes new corporate culture
The company does not consider itself fairly represented in the article by Bloomberg. The cases were examined for about two months, and the police were also involved, given the seriousness of the allegations. SAP had fully supported their “independent investigations and initiated its own investigations in parallel”. The police in Texas as well as in Las Vegas – where the events in question took place – had come to no conclusion. There is a lack of “sufficient sufficient suspicion,” according to an authority in Texas.
An important market
SAP generates its sales, i.e. around EUR 8.9 billion, in the USA.
SAP took “appropriate measures” against the two employees, according to the statement. No further details were given. One employee is still working in the company, another has left SAP. “I have confidence in SAP’s processes,” said Eberhard Schick, Chairman of the company’s works council.
Both incidents are said to have occurred at SAP subsidiary Ariba. The American software company bought SAP for $ 4.3 billion in 2012 to get a faster connection to the cloud business. The company was one of many U.S. acquisitions under the direction of former SAP Chief Executive Bill McDermott. This allowed the companies to continue working with their own name and a lot of entrepreneurial freedom.
“The SAP of the Year 2022 is different from the SAP of yesteryear.” Company statement
After the departure of McDermott at the end of 2019, SAP reversed course and integrated the companies and their business processes more closely into the company. This also includes stricter supervision of the corporate culture. “The SAP of the Year 2022 is different from the SAP of yesteryear,” the company says. Policies and procedures are constantly being put to the test so that “they do justice to our employees”.
No more self-service with alcohol
In recent years, SAP has also tightened the global guidelines for events. These traditionally play a major role in the Group’s sales business. Numerous events are organized all over the world, such as the SAP Sapphire customer Conference.
Even in Europe, a lot of alcohol would flow at some conferences, say employees of SAP, without wanting to give their names. The company is very male-oriented in its culture, but this is not so much due to a false culture as to the high proportion of men, especially in the development department.
According to the stricter guidelines of the Group, there must no longer be self-service for alcohol. Also, heavily drunk guests may no longer be served.
In addition, the company is trying to improve the complaint channels of employees. Misconduct, harassment or discrimination at the workplace can be directed by e-mail to a team in the “Global People and Compliance Office”, there is a people compliance Officer on site, who can also be called. On request, employees can also remain anonymous, for which the “Speak Out at SAP” tool has been set up.