Addressing sexual harassment in the legal profession

Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Emily Strickland has been appointed to conduct a review into harassment, including sexual harassment, within the legal profession.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said she had agreed to appoint Ms Strickland to undertake the review, following a motion which passed State Parliament last month.

“Whether you’re working in the legal sector, another private business or in the public sector, everyone should be entitled to a workplace free of harassment and inappropriate behaviour,” Attorney-General Chapman said.

“The concerns raised in State Parliament and, indeed, by the Law Society’s own 2018 survey demonstrate there is a legitimate need to improve the way the profession responds to these issues.

“This review will look at the best means of ensuring complaints can be assessed and investigated thoroughly, with appropriate disciplinary action taken in response.

“Clearly, there are parallels between this review and the current review into workplace behaviour at Parliament House – so it makes sense for the EOC to take the lead on both matters.

“Given Emily Strickland’s background, and her history in dealing with sensitive matters as Deputy Ombudsman, I think she is well-placed to lead both reviews.”

Ms Strickland’s position as Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner will be extended, enabling her to complete this review.

Ms Strickland welcomed the opportunity to look at issues confronting the workplace in the legal sector.

“This review is an important opportunity to improve the mechanisms for responding to and preventing incidents of workplace harassment”.