Bullying & Harassment Prevention
- The purpose of this policy and procedure is to provide a framework and system to prevent and protect all persons engaged or employed by Leishman Legal (NZ) Limited (“Leishman Legal”) from the effects of unacceptable conduct, including conduct that amounts to one or more of the following:
- racial harassment;
- sexual harassment; or
2.This policy and procedure applies to all categories of person working at Leishman Legal, including:
- Principals and Directors;
- employed lawyers;
- legal executives; and
- personal assistants and secretaries;
collectively referred to as “Covered Persons”.
3.Leishman Legal expects all persons providing contracted services to Leishman Legal, to comply with this policy and procedure.
4.Where the conduct of a client directed towards any person associated with Leishman Legal amounts to one or more of the following:
- racial harassment;
- sexual harassment;
- threatening behaviour; or
then Leishman Legal is entitled to terminate the client’s retainer.
Relevant Places and Events
5.This policy and procedure applies to Covered Persons:
- while working within the firm’s premises;
- while away from the firm’s premises including at clients’ premises, courts, mediation meetings, or educational or professional development events;
- off-site Leishman Legal social events; and
- any activities incidental to the above categories of activity.
Standards Of Compliance
6.All Covered Persons shall comply with:
- Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 including Conduct and Client Care Rules;
- Human Rights Act 1993; and
- Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
7. Bullying, discrimination, harassment, racial harassment, sexual harassment, threatening behaviour or violence is not accepted by Leishman Legal at any level.
8. All persons engaged or employed by Leishman Legal are to be treated with respect.
9. All senior lawyers and principals or directors must actively support this policy and procedure, which includes modelling respectful behaviour themselves.
10. Any off-site Leishman Legal social event must:
- be supervised by a Principal, Director or Special Counsel;
- adhere to the responsible consumption of alcohol; and
- be conducted to ensure there is a safe and compliant environment.
11.The following behaviours are unacceptable behaviours and are not permitted at any time in the Leishman Legal workplace, including any work related off-site social or other activities:
(a) Discrimination in all the forms of unlawful discrimination specified in s 21 of the Human Rights Act 1993 including discrimination on grounds of:
- Sex, which includes pregnancy and childbirth;
- Marital status;
- Religious or ethical belief;
- Colour or race;
- Ethnic or national origins which includes nationality or citizenship;
- Disability which includes any physical disability or illness or any psychiatric, intellectual or psychological disability or impairment;
- Political opinion;
- Employment status;
- Family status; or
- Sexual orientation
Discrimination in in any of these categories is contrary to the right to freedom from discrimination and the rights of minorities in ss 19 and 20 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990;
(b) Bullying, which is concerned with repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed at another person or group of people, which is likely to lead to physical or psychological harm to one or more of those persons;
(c) Harassment, which means intimidating, threatening or degrading behaviour directed towards a person or group of persons that is likely to have a harmful effect on one or more of those persons. This may be repeated behaviour or a serious single incident;
(d) Sexual harassment which means:
- subjecting another person to unreasonable behaviour of a sexual nature that is likely to be unwelcome or offensive to that person; or
- a request made by a person of another person for sexual intercourse, sexual contact, or any other form of sexual activity, that contains an implied or overt promise of preferential treatment or an implied or overt threat of detrimental treatment;
- (e) Violence which means any:
- physical violence;
- sexual violence;
- sexual abuse; or
- sexual assault;
- (f) Victimisation, concerning retaliation against a person who makes a confidential report or complaint to the Law Society or to Leishman Legal in good faith.
12.Engaging in any of the above behaviours is contrary to r 10.3 of the Conduct and Client Care Rules and is incompatible with the values and standards of Leishman Legal. Any instances of such conduct, or any complaints about such conduct, will be dealt with in accordance with this policy and procedure.
Reporting Unacceptable Behaviour
13. This reporting procedure does not alter a lawyer’s obligation to report suspected misconduct by another lawyer, directly to the New Zealand Law Society (“the Law Society”) in accordance with r 2.8 of the Conduct and Client Care Rules.
14. The process for reporting suspected misconduct to the Law Society can be found here Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008 (SR 2008/214) (as at 01 July 2021) Reporting misconduct – New Zealand Legislation.
Complaints by clients, covered persons, contractors or other persons
15. Any complaint received about misconduct or Unacceptable Behaviour relating to Leishman Legal, if not made directly to the Principal / Director of Leishman Legal, shall be immediately referred to the Principal / Director of Leishman Legal, unless it is a complaint about the Principal / Director of Leishman Legal.
16.Any complaint received about misconduct or Unacceptable Behaviour by the Principal / Director of Leishman Legal shall be referred immediately to the Principal / Director of McCabe Family Law McCabe Family Law – Auckland Family Lawyers, NZ.
17.The Principal / Director of Leishman Legal may refer any complaint of misconduct of Unacceptable Behaviour relating to Leishman Legal, to the Principal / Director of McCabe Family Law.
18.A complainant may make a complaint directly to the Principal / Director of McCabe Family Law, in circumstances where they are uncomfortable directing their complaint to the Principal / Director of Leishman Legal.
Investigating Complaints, or suspected misconduct or Unacceptable Behaviour
19. This investigation procedure relates to the investigation of complaints of misconduct or unacceptable behaviour, or any suspected misconduct or unacceptable behaviour, relating to Leishman Legal.
20. For the purpose of this procedure, the “Responsible Person” is the Principal / Director of Leishman Legal or the Principal / Director of McCabe Family Law, depending upon the reporting circumstances.
21. The Responsible Person shall determine whether the matter can be resolved informally, through alternative dispute resolution, or whether an investigation is required.
22. The Responsible Person shall determine whether the matter requires notification to the Law Society for the purposes of r 2.8 and 2.9 of the Conduct and Client Care Rules and shall be responsible for making any such notification.
23. Subject to the below guiding principles, the Responsible Person shall determine the investigation approach and the level of formality required:
(a) The Responsible Person shall be the decision maker as to findings in respect of Unacceptable Behaviour;
(b) Any issue of alleged misconduct or Unacceptable Behaviour, in anything more than trivial circumstances, shall be investigated by an independent person appointed by the Responsible Person;
(c) The nature and extent of the investigation required shall be determined by the Responsible Person, depending on the circumstances and seriousness of the alleged misconduct or Unacceptable Behaviour;
(d) The presumption of innocence applies to all investigations;
(e) Whilst the standard of proof is the balance of probabilities, the level of evidence required to meet that standard must be responsive to the gravity of the issue and the potential consequences of an adverse finding;
(f) The principles of natural justice shall be complied with, including notice of full particulars of the alleged misconduct or Unacceptable Behaviour being provided to the person subject to the investigation and a sufficient opportunity be given to respond to, the allegations, any findings and any proposed sanction;
(g) Both the complainant and the accused shall have access to a support person;
(h) The accused shall be afforded the opportunity to obtain legal advice;
(i) All parties shall be notified of the outcome of the investigation and the action to be taken; and
(j) Subject to any mandatory reporting requirements, the parties’ confidentiality and privacy shall be maintained.
24.At the conclusion of the investigation process, the Responsible Person shall determine whether the matter requires notification under r 11.4 of the Conduct and Client Care Rules and shall be responsible for making any such notification.
Maintaing Standards Of behaviour (Designated Person)
25. Subject to the specific reporting requirement set out in clause 24 of this policy and procedure, the Principal / Director of Leishman Legal (“the Director”) is the person designated for meeting the requirements specified in rules 11.4 and 11.5 of the Conduct and Client Care Rules, including ensuring compliance with this policy and procedure.
26.The Director must notify the Law Society, within 14 days, if any person is issued a written warning or dismissed by the law practice for conduct that amounts to one or more of the following:
- racial harassment;
- sexual harassment;
- theft; or
27. The Director must notify the Law Society, within 14 days, if any person leaves Leishman Legal in circumstances where within the 12 months before the person’s leaving, Leishman Legal had advised that person that it was dissatisfied with, or intended to investigate, their conduct in relation to any of the types of conduct referred to in r11.4 of the Conduct and Client Care Rules.
28.The Director must certify to the Law Society annually, by a date prescribed by the Law Society, whether:
- the law practice has complied with all of the mandatory reporting obligations imposed under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006; and
- the law practice has policies and systems in place as set out in rule 11.2 and is complying with its obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015; and
- the Director has complied with rule 11.4
29. The Director shall be responsible for ensuring that all employees and contract service providers are notified of this policy and procedure.
30.The Director shall be responsible for reviewing and maintaining this policy and procedure.