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Skip to 0 minutes and 38 seconds TADA International is making headlines again today. Joe Bloggs, a long-time employee of the global clothing and food retailer, has brought forward allegations of discrimination at the top levels of the company. Earlier this year CEO Colin Thornberry made headlines as the company came under criticism in becoming one of the last three remaining FTSE 100 companies with an all-male board with no policy on diversity. We spoke to Joe Bloggs’ lawyers, who provided a statement. I would like to read a statement on behalf of my client, Ms Bloggs.

Skip to 1 minute and 10 seconds I have been working with the company for 16 years, I started off as a sales rep on the lowest pay band, I worked my way up over the years through various roles but I am constantly overlooked for promotion. I tried to make myself eligible two years ago by studying for an MBA but it’s gone totally unnoticed. I have proven my excellence in achieving KPIs and my stellar professional background would be recognised and rewarded in most other places, but not here. With the board run the way it is, it’s no wonder that I am still where I am in terms of position.

Skip to 1 minute and 49 seconds They need to get with the times and recognise that there is more than one type of person able to step up and progress here. It’s always been someone else, someone with less experience but good social connections to those up there. I have gone above and beyond for this company more times than I care to imagine. Its an all-male, white, middle-aged board where appointment process is heavily, though informally, influenced by the Chairperson. I have stayed quiet for far too long about this blatant nepotism shown by the Old Boys’ Club at the top. I hope this will encourage others to speak up about injustice in the workplace.

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 seconds Colin Thornberry has been the CEO of TADA International for a little over five years and has spent nearly 30 years overall within the company. Management teams of TADA based in Africa and South America are led by CEOs who professionally are mirror images of Colin, white British men in their fifties with qualifications in finance and law. Further allegations suggest the CEO’s nephew has recently joined the board of the company with little experience. We have contacted TADA International for a statement but are yet to receive a response. With this emerging story we will continue to bring you updates as they come to light.

An example of bad HR practice

Watch the video that introduces TADA International, a company with some rather poor HR practices.

Originally a company with interests in retail – specifically clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and children – it has diversified to open a small number of small food and catering businesses. As a result, the company has grown to become an influential multinational company, listed on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges.

The company exists within a competitive sector in the US and the UK, due to the presence of several similar retail outlets with a committed customer base, but also has a significant number of outlets in Durban, Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Lagos in Africa, and Bogota, Buenos Aires and Lima in South America.

Despite this global reach, the board of the company are all US or UK nationals. It’s an all-male, white, middle-aged board, where the appointment process is heavily, though informally, influenced by the CEO Colin Thornberry.

Management teams in Africa and South America are led by people who, professionally, are mirror images of Colin – white men in their 50s, with illustrious qualifications in law and finance, and with long associations (and family relations) with Colin. A lack of representation of other stakeholders (eg suppliers’ communities, consumers, employees) has often been criticised in the UK newspapers because the company continues to be one of only three remaining FTSE 100 companies with an all-male board and no policy on diversity.

As you’ve seen in the video, the insular leadership and recruitment processes have lead to unhappiness from some employees, and to the tribunal described.

Your task

What potential problems can you identify in TADA International’s present method of working on the international stage and what does this mean to the company?

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This video is from the free online course:

Introduction to International Human Resources Management

Coventry University