The UK Vole Hill is under siege amid allegations that it is a hotbed of drunken sexual harassment, and lies.
According to the Daily Telegraph Simon Negus was dismissed in 2010 amid allegations that he had snogged Toni Knowlson, at a company party in Atlanta and then lied about it.
A Volish inquiry claimed to have uncovered a pattern of sexual misconduct and harassment towards female members of staff.
Negus, 50, was accused of “flirting and touching” Knowlson. He allegedly asked one woman to “flutter her eyelashes”, and another, Martina Redmond, to stand on a chair so that people could see her short skirt.
Vole was not able to prove the allegations but dismissed Negus claiming he had lied during the investigation. They then took him to court demanding he return £75,000 of a £225,000 “golden hello” bonus paid on the condition he would stay for three years.
Negus is married and denies the claims. He said that he was set up by the boss he was hired to replace as General Manager of Microsoft UK, Gordon Frazer. He is counter-suing the computer company for 15 years’ loss of earnings, harassment and wrongful dismissal.
According to High Court papers, Negus said that the allegations centred around a Microsoft annual sales conference in which “drunkenness and outrageous misbehaviour were rife”.
The court papers describe the Microsoft Global Exchange conference as full of wild behaviour, fuelled by “unlimited quantities” of vodka and Jagermeister.
One director was so out of his head that it’s said he followed Emma Cloney, a manager, into the ladies’ loos. Another executive was “so pissed he could not remember a thing” the court papers said.
Apparently booze was freely available in unlimited quantities. You could get neat vodka from an ice fountain, the papers added.
Negus claims he left a more senior position at Dell because he was promised bigger things at Vole, was ranked as the top performing “level 69” partner at the company worldwide.
However he claimed he posed a potential threat to his superior. Gordon Frazer. Frazer apparently sent an email to Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, outlining the plan to get rid of Negus before the formal investigation into his behaviour had concluded.
Microsoft said that although the kiss did not result in any formal action, “further very strong evidence” suggested Negus had lied to the inquiry and this was why he was sacked.
Frazer stepped in to cover Negus’s role “between suspension and dismissal” and to “start recruitment for the permanent replacement” before the decision to end his employment was finalised.
In the investigation, Redmond denied the short-skirt allegation, although Chughtai confirmed Negus asked her to flutter her eyelashes. The allegation that Negus kissed Knowlson would remain one of life’s mysteries.