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Survey comments: harassment does happen
9 Nov 17
The Journal employment survey asked whether readers had experienced sexual abuse or harassment at work. Here is a selection of comments submitted.
I have suffered sexual harassment in four previous workplaces.
[As a young man] I suffered sexual assault at the hands of a senior partner of my firm. I have no confidence that the matter would have been dealt with properly by my firm had I raised it at the time... What happened to me led me to think of my entire career very negatively and it has destroyed my prior strong work ethic.
Commercial property practice in Edinburgh is a macho sexist culture where women do not matter.
I was the victim of unwanted attention from male superiors whilst I was a trainee solicitor. The experience, together with a bullying environment and lack of support, made me consider leaving the legal profession.
I believe my employers would take appropriate steps if I were to make a complaint of sexual harassment, but ONLY if the perpetrator was a member of staff and not a partner.
In my previous place of employment the level of “laddish” behaviour was considerable, including innuendo and completely inappropriate comments and behaviour to female staff, mainly instigated by the senior partner. For this reason no one complained as far as I am aware.
The survey should also ask about other forms of harassment such as that based on ethnicity or religion; I have noticed that my organisation is increasingly intolerant of people with a faith or religious background.
Bullying and harassment is tolerated if the perpetrator is a partner with significant billings.
As female court practitioner, I regularly feel that older men within the profession make inappropriate remarks which they feel are complimentary. It is very difficult to strike a balance between putting a stop to comments which are not appropriate and at the same time not offending those same agents with whom I have to work on a daily basis.
Nowadays, in my experience, generally men seem more aware of the importance to show respect, whereas it is women who consider it acceptable to engage in low-level sexual banter about or towards men. In my view, this is not acceptable and should change.
The harassment I have witnessed was a senior female colleague against junior male colleagues.
The questions assume that sexual harassment within the workplace comes from those you work with. It can come from clients.
I have observed a real problem with young female trainees and older male associates/partners who are clearly in a position of power. I have observed blatant and extensive groping at social events and have overheard many inappropriate comments.