Russell McVeagh says it is committed to addressing any issues of harassment at the firm and in the legal profession generally by making it known that any such behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
The firm has issued a statement following media coverage of allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour from students in a summer law clerk programme at Russell McVeagh.
"Over two years ago we received serious allegations related to incidents in Wellington," the statement says.
"Where allegations were made, we immediately conducted a full internal investigation at the time and initiated a formal process. Those who were the subject of the allegations left the firm following the investigation. Out of respect for the privacy of the women involved, we have no further details to share."
Russell McVeagh says that as a responsible employer, it has always taken employees’ concerns extremely seriously.
"Our firm is committed to ensuring our workplace is a supportive and safe environment for all of our staff and their safety and wellbeing is our utmost priority. We have zero tolerance for bad behaviour and will have no hesitation to act if we are alerted to behaviour that contravenes our values, with robust processes in place to investigate and resolve any issues. We continue to take all possible steps to create a ‘speak out’ culture and as part of this, have made it clear to our staff that there will be no repercussions for speaking out in any circumstance.
"We are committed to addressing any issues of harassment at Russell McVeagh and in our profession generally by making it known that any such behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
"In addition, we have been and are working closely with many of the other major law firms and the universities to develop a ‘transition to work’ programme and have appointed an independent person, to provide additional support to our staff and graduates within the profession as they commence their careers from university.
"We have been asked by the women affected to respect their privacy, and therefore, will not be commenting further."