By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
As I mentioned in a previous post, the fact situation and outcome of Conduct Reviews are published anonymously on the Law Society website in our Conduct Review Database. A Conduct Review is a face to face meeting with a member who is the subject of a complaint that raises conduct issues ‘close to the line’ of conduct unbecoming. The meeting is meant to assist the member identify and accept responsibility for the conduct that caused concern, to learn from the complaint and Conduct Review, and to change their conduct to proactively prevent similar situations in the future. The Conduct Reviews are published to provide guidance to the profession. Below is a recent Conduct Review.
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Category: Sexual Harassment
Practice Area: n/a
Code: 6.3 Harassment and Discrimination (previously 5.03)
E-cite: 2018 SKLSCR 2
Date: March 13, 2018
A complaint was received that the Member had made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature toward the Complainant in the context of an employee-employer and solicitor-client relationship.
The Conduct Investigation Committee determined that the comments were unwelcome, vulgar, explicit, and demeaning and that the Complaint was substantiated and that if a hearing were to occur, the evidence would likely establish that the Member sexually harassed the Complainant. However, due to the considerable time that had passed between the occurrence and the complaint and its impetus being connected to a commercial dispute, there was not a reasonable prospect of conviction. The Conduct Investigation Committee recommended a “Conduct Review”. The Conduct Review Committee met with the member and concluded that the Member did not appreciate the seriousness of his actions. As an intermediary step, they directed the Member to complete an educational program regarding sexual harassment.
The Member attended counselling sessions. At the end of the program, reports from the Member and the health professional were rendered. The Conduct Review Committee reviewed the reports and concluded that