Dentons has placed a partner on a leave of absence and banned him from the premises after it was made aware of allegations that he engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviour with female employees.
The solicitor allegedly behaved inappropriately while he was a partner at Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens, which merged with Dentons last year.
A source told RollOnFriday that she and a number of other women approached the MMS HR team with complaints about the partner's inappropriate sexual behaviour. She said she was asked by the MMS HR team "if I really wanted to take him on" with a formal complaint. Calling its response "disgraceful", she said, "I was advised to just get on with things. It was brushed under the carpet and he’s still in his position".
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However, Dentons suspended the partner last week after RollOnFriday approached it about the allegations. A spokesman said, "Last week we became aware that reports of inappropriate behaviour were made against a Maclay Murray and Spens partner about 15 months ago, more than a year before MMS's merger with Dentons. No formal complaint was made at the time or has been made subsequently, but we now understand the partner was warned about his future conduct".
He said, "Dentons places huge importance on ensuring that we create a safe, open and respectful workplace for all our employees, and we are taking these reports very seriously. Upon becoming aware of these reports, we launched an internal investigation and the partner concerned is now on a leave of absence and will not be attending the office while the investigation is ongoing. We will be making no further comment until the investigation has concluded and all parties have been informed of the outcome".
The source's decision to speak to RollOnFriday, and Dentons' reaction, show the legal profession is not immune to the ripples of Harvey Weinstein's downfall and the #MeToo movement. It is also evidence that alleged victims' voices, particularly when amplified, can affect change. If you would like to speak in confidence, get in touch.
Take the opportunity to speak out about your firm, just by clicking nine tickboxes in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2018 survey.
Having one or more of affairs with colleagues in other departments, by way of hypothetical example, is not a police or even disciplinary matter.
Sexually assaulting female employees is both.