Within 18 months, two female SAP employees in the US have contacted the software company's human resources department and reported that they were raped while attending after-work events on business trips.
The incidents - one in Las Vegas and the other near Dallas - provide insight into the situation of some women at SAP SE who say they failed to convince their own HR team that they were sexually active would not have consented to overtures.
For this article, Bloomberg news agency spoke to the women and seven other current and former employees who say they have experienced or been sexually harassed or harassed at company events.
All did not want to be named because they either fear reprisals or have signed non-disclosure agreements.
Bloomberg also viewed internal emails and documents showing how SAP, one of the world's largest technology companies, responded to these complaints.
“We take all allegations extremely seriously”
In both incidents of the alleged rape, which date back to 2018, the accused said they had had sexual relations with the victims and that each of the women appeared to be very intoxicated or acting unusually, as per the summaries of the reports SAP's internal investigations, available to Bloomberg.
The women said they believed they had been drugged and both lodged complaints with the police.
SAP concluded that the men displayed poor judgment and that employees should no longer work together, the SAP investigation shows.
“We take all allegations of misconduct and criminal behavior extremely seriously.
Ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees is the basis of all our decisions," said Joellen Perry, an SAP spokeswoman, in an emailed response to questions related to this article.
“We have fully supported the independent investigation and have also launched our own internal investigations.
Law enforcement ultimately filed no charges in either incident.
This, combined with our own findings, prompted us to take whatever action we felt was appropriate for the accused employees."
“The SAP of 2022 is also different from the SAP of the past,” says Perry.
The company said it recently commissioned an external review of its policies.
Networking events with a "men's club" atmosphere
The women's experiences were extreme cases of a corporate culture that current and former SAP employees said allowed sexual harassment.
The company frequently hosted networking events in which there was a "boys club" climate with heavy drinking, which served as a pretext for inappropriate and unwanted advances from senior male managers, current and former employees said.
Several women reported being groped, followed into hotel rooms, or forced to endure lewd remarks and other inappropriate behavior by men they worked with.