GSK fired executive who raised South Africa Race complaint

GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) dismissed an executive from its African consumer healthcare division for refusing to submit to a performance plan that was initiated a week after he reported alleged racial discrimination to a confidential integrity hotline, company documents obtained by Bloomberg show.

The executive, who was fired on Oct. 3, filed a 17-page report on Aug. 28 to the compliance department through a web portal, alleging that Glaxo’s South Africa consumer healthcare division, its most profitable unit on the continent, was a “white island” and restricted black staff from being appointed to senior management positions. Only one of the 21 top managers in the unit is black, the executive said in the report. He asked not to be identified because he is seeking to be reinstated.

Glaxo “encourages people to speak up if they have any concerns without reprisal,” it said in an e-mailed response to questions yesterday, declining to comment on the documents or the dismissal. “As soon as we became aware of these allegations we immediately began an internal investigation process which includes the use of external legal consultants. The investigation is ongoing and if areas for improvement are identified we will act on the recommendations.”

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