As the press is dominated by reports of sexual harassment by former High Court Justice, the Hon Dyson Heydon AC QC, we are reminded that sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination are sadly – and appallingly – features of many Australian workplaces. The legal sector is prone to these behaviours and unlike the general working population, harassment statistics are in fact higher in the legal sector and this is often due to a power and status imbalance.
QLS has worked actively to promote inclusion, to train on acceptable workplace conduct and has featured direct topics on the prevalence of sexual harassment, cultural problems and solutions at our conferences and CPD events consistently for many years. QLS CEO Rolf Moses has personally spoken on this topic to hundreds of members.
Very soon, we will be launching an interactive, confronting, facilitated workshop for all Queensland practitioners on sexual harassment. We are in production now and will be rolling this out in the near future.
Behavioural misconduct must stop in our profession. People are being harmed. Too many people fear reporting, too many leaders lack the skills to investigate allegations appropriately and too many people are passive bystanders to harassment of all types.
This culture must change.
If you have been harassed or if you have observed harassment – contact the QLS or the Legal Services Commissioner. Bullying, harassment and discrimination are unlawful and are a breach of the Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules.
If you are struggling as a result of unacceptable workplace behaviours – seek help, contact LawCare, speak with a colleague or contact us.
More information and assistance is available here.