The New Zealand Bar Association says respectful behaviour towards all legal profession staff is a basic starting point to eliminating sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace.
The comments follow media coverage of sexual misconduct complaints from law students, who had internships at law firm Russell McVeagh, about 2 years ago.
New Zealand Bar Association President Clive Elliott QC says that any form of workplace harassment or bullying is unacceptable.
“It is crucial that we manage power imbalance in the workplace in a respectful way. We are absolutely committed to achieving a safe work place for all barristers and members of the profession. This starts with individual standards of behaviour, but workplace culture and policies also need to be examined,” he says.
President Elect of the Bar Association, Kate Davenport QC, says a safe work environment is a fundamental requirement for all.
“We encourage all women and men to speak out if they suffer any form of sexual harassment or bullying. The Association through its Mentoring and Bar Care programmes has senior members available to give advice and support to those who are in this unenviable position. We urge them to come forward and contact us,” she says.