Zero tolerance and training should still foster an inclusive and safe workplace

All employees in Danske Bank should feel comfortable and met with respect, and that is a shared responsibility, says Karsten Breum, Head of HR at Danske Bank.

At Danske Bank, we see diversity as a strength and prerequisite for delivering on our ambition to offer the best customer experiences and to become a Better Bank For that reason, diversity and inclusion is something we work purposefully with.

“We have a shared responsibility to make EVERYONE feel welcome and respected as the person they are. That is why it is important that we, like other workplaces, take a critical look at ourselves and consider whether there is anything we can do better for each other," Karsten Breum says.

Sexism at workplaces has become a subject of intense debate recently, prompted by a number of people speaking up about their experiences. At Danske Bank, we emphasise an open culture in which everyone can share concerns or experiences with inappropriate behaviour. “No employees should feel offended or inappropriately treated at Danske Bank, and we have zero tolerance for sexual harassment. We also do not tolerate other abusive or inappropriate behaviour of any kind," emphasises Karsten Breum.


No employees should feel offended or inappropriately treated at Danske Bank, and we have zero tolerance for sexual harassment. We also do not tolerate other abusive or inappropriate behaviour of any kind.

Karsten Breum

Head of HR, Danske Bank



Zero-tolerance and educated managers

Our zero tolerance for any type of inappropriate behaviour is carefully described in the bank’s politics, guidelines and internal communication. “As the debate in Denmark has been flaring, we are increasing the internal communication on the subject, because it is very important that we continuously speak openly about it and are crystal clear on what is acceptable behaviour in an inclusive and safe work environment,” says Karsten Breum.

In Danske Bank, all managers are educated to be able to spot and act on inappropriate behaviour at the workplace. “Generally, the number of cases is very low, but there may be a grey area of cases that are not reported, and we therefore continue to encourage openness and disassociate ourselves from harassment of any kind,” Karsten Breum says and continues, “one case is simply one too many – also in a company with 22,000 employees – so we are following the development closely and continue to communicate the zero tolerance clearly.”