Wednesday 28 July 2021 11:16 am

Exclusive: Sex discrimination and harassment cases in legal profession down by a third

Sex discrimination and harassment complaints within the legal community dropped by a third last year.

According to data from employment law firm Fox & Partners, shared with City A.M. this morning, the number of complaints made to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) went from 56 in 2019 to 37 in 2020.

Remote working mostly contributed to the decline in complaints due to the reduction in face-to-face interaction, both during and outside of working hours, since the first lockdown began. 

“Remote working has led to a decline in complaints for sex discrimination and now firms must adapt once again to bringing colleagues back into the workplace and the resuming of work-related and client events,” commented Catriona Watt, partner at Fox & Partners.

Measures

The research found that some firms have implemented strong deterrents in the form of financial penalties for those found to have committed misconduct, for example a number of firms have voted to implement measures to deduct up to 20 per cent of profit share where there has been misconduct.

Firms and companies may be jointly liable for incidents of harassment unless they have taken all reasonable steps to prevent it from occurring. If found liable, employers would have to pay damages, which could even include the victim’s loss of future earnings.

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