HSF has fired one of its top partners in Australia after several members of staff claimed they had been harassed by him.

Until yesterday the unnamed partner had been in a senior role in the firm. He has now been suspended and will, according to the firm, be kicked out of the partnership by the end of next week.

The firm launched an investigation after three members of staff complained about him. The nature of their complaints has not been disclosed by Herbies. But the firm clearly considered his behaviour to be sufficiently egregious to justify not only firing the partner but also publicly humiliating him. So keen was CEO Mark Rigotti to publicise the firm's impeccable #MeToo credentials that he issued a lengthy and excoriating statement* before the partner had even left the building.

Which may be entirely justified. Or not - the firm has not provided any of the details. And it may be premature. Herbies wouldn't comment, but it has been reported that the partner may appeal. If he does and is successful then Sydney's defamation lawyers will have field day. And if he isn't Rigotti may have made himself a hostage to fortune when, as seems inevitable in a firm of this size, other employees come forward to say that similar complaints in the past were not taken nearly as seriously. 

* Rigotti's statement:
"It is paramount that the individuals who have come forward feel fully supported and can have faith that the firm is taking the right action. We do not tolerate behaviour that contravenes our Values, Codes and Policies and we will not accept behaviour that violates a person’s dignity or erodes their self-respect.

 As custodians of the business, the partnership in particular must live and breathe our values and do all they can to ensure that all our team members enjoy an open, inclusive and supportive working environment that encourages them to thrive and enables them to be their whole, true selves at work and outside work.

 On a personal level, I am deeply disappointed to hear how the behaviour of this person has impacted others at our firm. Every one of our people deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and the action we are taking should highlight the importance of this.


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Comments

Anonymous 22 Mar 18

Why would the firm provide details? Wouldn't the privacy of the complainants be paramount if the issue has been investigated and the complainants' versions have been found to be credible?

Anonymous 23 Mar 18

the fact that they've moved so swiftly likely means that his behaviour was well-known so any investigation was probably "someone's finally gone public about Bruce - I guess the weight of publicity around all this means we have to actually take some action now..."

Anonymous 23 Mar 18

@anon 9:46 - Aww, did someone do the right thing so you had to twist yourself into knots to play your victim card? How very dare they.

Anonymous 29 Mar 18

Normally in Australia NDAs and payouts to victims of partner misconduct are rife. Law Society’s in Aus although it’s a breach of rules don’t do anything and there’s prime opportunity for firms to cover up as no reporting obligations like with SRA.

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