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Sexual misconduct in the legal profession is on the rise

Sexual misconduct in the legal profession is on the rise

Personnel Today - 20 January 2020

More employees are speaking out about sexual misconduct in the legal profession.

Over the past five years, sexual misconduct claims have risen from 24 in 2014/15 to 63 in 2018/19. This new information came out of a freedom of information request by partner Sophie Vanhegan and shows the increasing willingness of employees to report sexual misconduct.

Sophie said: "Sexual harassment is not necessarily more prevalent than it traditionally has been at law firms. What’s changed is that misconduct is more likely to be reported.

“Sexual misconduct often goes unreported due to junior colleagues being afraid of the consequences of doing so. Having whistleblowing hotlines and procedures in place can help deal with this.”

Companies are now introducing measures to reduce the likelihood of sexual misconduct such as restricting alcohol consumption at work events. Sophie suggests this comes out of the growth of the #MeToo movement as "the SRA is not afraid to take action against employers and any sanctions imposed can be very damaging reputationally. It is therefore very important that law firms have adequate controls in place to not only reduce incidences of misconduct but also to effectively handle a case.”

Read the full article here.