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Top City lawyers accused of mistreating waitress

·2-min read
City of London
City of London

A top City law firm has launched an investigation after some of its senior lawyers allegedly mistreated a 22-year-old waitress at a restaurant in Cardiff on Wednesday.

Ince, a London-listed law firm, has begun an inquiry after the restaurant’s owner complained that staff from the firm acted inappropriately towards the waitress, including aggressively grabbing her arm and using demeaning language.

The dinner in Cardiff’s Cora restaurant took place on the first night of a two-day management meeting for Ince’s senior lawyers in the Welsh capital, The Telegraph understands.

The investigation will be conducted by the firm’s independent directors.

Lee Skeet, the restaurant’s owner, publicly shared an email he addressed to John Biles, Ince’s head of finance who was present at the dinner, complaining about the group’s behaviour and banning them from the restaurant.

In the email, Mr Skeet said the waitress was "talked down to, disrespected, and touched unwantedly by members of your group".

The woman, who run's the restaurant's front of house, was allegedly told to “stick her schnoz in that” after a complaint was made about the quality of a bottle of wine, while one member of the group “grabbed her arm aggressively”.

The party of six got through seven bottles of wine over the course of the evening and amassed a bill of £1,000.

Mr Biles announced on Thursday that he was retiring from the firm. Ince insisted that the timing of the announcement had nothing to do with the dinner and The Telegraph understands that he was not accused of any misconduct on the night.

A spokesman for Ince said: “The company has been made aware of allegations in the media in relation to senior staff attending a dinner on Wednesday evening.

"The independent directors have therefore initiated a formal investigation. Whilst it is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

The allegations come as firms in the City attempt to clampdown on misconduct, with many resorting to having “sober chaperones” at work events and dinners to keep staff in check.

The measures reflect a wider crackdown on the City’s drinking culture, with professional services firms attempting to protect potentially vulnerable employees amid rising scrutiny of workplace culture.

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