Any sexual harassment in legal workplaces is absolutely unacceptable, New Zealand Law Society President Kathryn Beck says.
The Law Society’s monthly magazine LawTalk has published an article by a New Zealand lawyer which outlines the harassment she underwent while she was a young lawyer. Her experiences of receiving the unwelcomed attentions of two senior male lawyers are described, along with her account of the significant impacts these had on her health and work.
The author of the article, “Sexual harassment in the NZ legal workplace”, is anonymous.
Ms Beck says there have been many encouraging developments this year around diversity and respect for others in New Zealand’s workplaces.
“However, initiatives to remove barriers to opportunity which currently exist through a person’s gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation will only succeed if the legal profession also affirms and accepts the right of everyone in our workplaces to be free from sexual harassment.
“In an hierarchical environment where workplace wellbeing, remuneration, promotion and advancement are dependent on the decisions and input of those in a position of power, it is an affront to human rights if that is abused.
“As a profession we act for others who have experienced sexual harassment. But as a profession we must also look at ourselves and agree that any harassment in our workplaces is absolutely unacceptable.”