United Way Worldwide continues to rid themselves of an image tarnished by sexual harassment allegations while investigations continue against Brian Gallagher, its chief executive. The head of the famed 133-year-old nonprofit stands accused of creating an environment that resembled an old-school “Boys Club.”
The History of the United Way’s “Boys’ Club”
Gallagher is not the first CEO to face serious accusations. Eleven years after starting with the United Way, he worked at a local branch in 1992 when then-CEO William Aramony was forced out after allegations of sexual and financial impropriety. In addition to taking $650,000 from his then-employer, he was also wooing a female employee more than 40 years his junior with lavish international vacations – many times jetting off on the Concorde.
Aramony was subsequently convicted and served time in jail for fraud.
While some claim that the incident was a watershed moment that started a change in the company culture, others would claim that the “Boy’s Club” remains open for business under Gallagher’s rule. Women are continually put in the position of having to work harder to move up the company ladder, all the while tolerating inappropriate and highly sexist conduct to make any progress in climbing those corporate rungs.
According to one worker, many of the older male employees in high-level roles see little wrong with their woefully outdated behavior and refuse to embrace the new corporate world. Bad actors in powerful positions remain and lurk in the shadows.
Employees who have witnessed these actions are hesitant to report them. Those loyal to the company see all the good that is done, not wanting to be the one that undermines the United Way’s efforts over salacious claims of misconduct. Simply put, they don’t want to put up any obstacles that would stop the longtime mission of the nonprofit.
Loyalty has a cost. If not now, then perhaps in the future.