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Legal profession has a problem with sexual harassment

Legal profession has a problem with sexual harassment

By LIV Media

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The legal profession needs to step up to protect lawyers from the scourge of sexual harassment, according to the Law Institute of Victoria.

LIV President Sam Pandya said the legal profession has a problem with sexual harassment which must be addressed. He said it was unacceptable that any practitioners leave the legal profession after experiencing harassment.

“No-one should feel empowered by seniority and power imbalance to harass staff. We must stand together as a profession with a zero tolerance for harassment to educate the profession and support vulnerable employees with avenues to address complaints,” he said.

Mr Pandya said a recent Sexual Harassment in the Victorian Legal Sector report by the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner made disturbing reading.

“This report provides us with data, and recent reports would indicate that more action needs to be taken to combat sexual harassment in our profession,” Mr Pandya said.

Mr Pandya said sexual harassment of any kind is unacceptable. Serious cases constitute professional misconduct.

He said the profession needed to do more to support people experiencing sexual harassment. This week’s statement from the High Court suggests that no level of the profession is immune from harassment.

The LIV will work with the profession to support work environments to be free from sexual harassment.

The LIV will be:

  • Continually supporting our legal practitioners with tools and resources, including access to confidential Employee Assistance Programs;
  • Developing practical templates to assist smaller legal workplaces who may lack robust policies, or who may not have an internal human resources department;
  • Developing and promoting training programs relating to sexual harassment; and
  • Supporting the VLSB+C’s existing and future initiatives in investigating and regulating sexual harassment within the Victorian legal profession.

Mr Pandya said the LIV encourages all Victorian legal workplaces, including courts, to develop and implement workplace practices to address inappropriate workplace behaviour, to respond to complaints effectively, and to challenge cultures, attitudes and behaviours that can result in sexual harassment.

 


Contact: Kerry O’Shea, Public Affairs Manager or Amanda Rajendra, Media & Communications Officer T: 03 9607 9597 E: media@liv.asn.au


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