Former employee takes DigiOutbound to court over culture of toxic masculinity

Lisa Koopman's Facebook post about how women are allegedly sexually harassed and bullied at DigiOutbound went viral.

Former DigiOutbound employee Lisa Koopman’s Facebook post about how women are allegedly treated at the company has gone viral. In it, she makes some pretty damning allegations against the call centre agency, saying she was forced to resign from her job effective immediately, due to sexual harassment, sexual assault, emotional and verbal abuse, and bullying.

She says male colleagues would often touch women inappropriately, cornering them in the office in an attempt to grope them and press their genitals against them.

“The saddest part was that HR did little to nothing to help myself and a number of these women. Instead of addressing and fixing the issues we reported - we became the issue,” she writes in her post.

The examples of incidents paint an extreme picture of toxic masculinity, saying that Koopman even witnessed how her male colleagues took highly inappropriate and intrusive pictures zooming in underneath a female colleague's skirt and making it the group's WhatsApp profile picture.

“We were often told that [the culture exists] as it is ….because ‘it’s good for the business’, but I came to the realisation that the environment was no longer good for me. I was desperate to escape for my own mental sanity. What saddens me the most is that I am not the only woman who worked at this company to have experienced this level of trauma inside the walls of DigiOutbound.”

In an interview with Kino Kammies on Cape Talk 567, Lisa speaks openly about how the HR department simply told women to ignore the men’s behaviour.

“Each incident was reported to HR and 99 percent of the time, it was me who reported it and they failed to support us on all these issues,” she said, adding that many other victims had come forward since she made the social media post. 

Lisa has now initiated a process to take DigiOutbound to the Labour Court and has since turned down a R200 000 settlement, which included a gag order that would prevent her from talking about what happened to her and her colleagues at the company.

In a statement sent to the talk radio Station, DigiOutbound claims it has dismissed 17 staff members - including the entire management team - as part of a business structure overhaul and cultural assessment of the company.

However, Lisa says that, a toxic culture like that cannot be destroyed by simply dismissing a few people.