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World Bank Reportedly Demotes LGBT Leader

World Bank Reportedly Demotes LGBT Leader


The man, formerly in charge of the international lender's LGBT employee group, claims he was retaliated against for whistle-blowing.

An investigation by the World Bank of the former president of its LGBT employee organization has led to his demotion, BuzzFeed is reporting.

The report says Fabrice Houdart was accused of leaking "sensitive information" to an outside agency and Houdart claims his demotion is retaliation for whistle-blowing.

The leak in question occurred in 2014 and involved a draft of new human rights and environmental "safeguards."

Houdart claimed he had been cleared in the investigation, in a post on his blog on the bank's intranet Wednesday, BuzzFeed reports.

But according to the report, during the investigation he admitted to sharing a less sensitive internal document with a watchdog organization called the Bank Information Center, which was chairing a working group on sexual orientation and gender identity issues related to the safeguard process.

According to BuzzFeed, Houdart says that's why the bank demoted him, reduced his salary, and declared him ineligible for promotion for three years.

When the investigation was announced, Houdart claimed -- through his attorneys -- that it was retaliation for his role in publicizing controversial financial decisions by the bank's management.

In his blog post this week, Houdart reportedly wrote that his demotion would discourage others to come forward to report "serious governance issues" and that the bank's decision to have an outside law firm investigate the allegations instead of using internal disciplinary processes undermined "our internal justice system [and] is sending a negative signal to the world."

A World Bank spokesman rejected these allegations in a statement to BuzzFeed, saying there was precedent for contracting out investigations of misconduct:

"The Bank respected all provisions in place to safeguard staff rights and provide a fair process.

"The unauthorized leak of sensitive information, and the launch of the investigation, occurred prior to any actions now being claimed by Mr. Houdart as potential triggers for retaliation.

"Retaliation has unequivocally played no part in the investigation or disciplinary sanctions. In two other recent cases, staff members were similarly disciplined for unauthorized disclosures."

Houdart said he would appeal the decision with help from a fund set up by supporters that raised over $20,000 to defend him in the investigation. He tweeted the report of his demotion:

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