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Law Firm Imposes Strict Reporting Requirements For Sexual Harassment

Law firm imposes strict reporting requirements for sexual harassment

A leading law firm has imposed strict new rules surrounding the reporting of sexual harassment.

The firm has also drawn up tough new guidelines to manage personal relationships at work.

Law firm imposes strict reporting requirements

Lander & Rogers has introduced a “no bystanders” rule that it hopes will end a culture of silence surrounding sexual harassment in the profession, reports the AFR.

Managing partner Genevieve Collins told the AFR the mandatory reporting provisions came about following a number of law firms “getting into trouble”.

“We changed ‘should’ (report) to ‘must’ – so any staff member who experiences, witnesses or becomes aware of sexual harassment must report it.

“That shift really reinforces that there is zero tolerance – and there are no confidences to be kept; it needs to be outed – bystanders [staying silent] will no longer be tolerated.”

Collins hopes the new policy will remove the fear people might have about coming forward.

“Some of that fear is based on the fact they are not going to be believed or that they are going to be outed because they made a complaint against someone more senior or more powerful – or would in some way be prejudiced by making the report.

“You can’t have compulsory reporting without protection for those who report.”




New relationship rules

The firm has also imposed strict rules surrounding workplace romances that sets a higher bar for partners and managers.

However, Collins said the firm is not trying to impose a ‘bonking ban’.

“We are not trying to ban personal relationships but are trying to manage the conflicts of interest.”

The new policy came into effect this month and applies to the firm’s 500 staff in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

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