The International Bar Association (IBA) is to ask its 80,000 members whether they have experienced bullying or harassment in the workplace as it looks to respond to a shift in attitudes to workplace behaviour.
A survey is to be sent out this week that will ask members if they have ever been bullied or harassed, the impact the conduct had on them and what policies and procedures are in place in the workplace to combat bad behaviour.
Members will also be asked to reveal details of the perpetrator including their position in the firm/chambers. Respondents to the survey will be kept anonymous, the association said.
Several harassment allegations have been made in the profession in recent months – some involving senior partners. The increased spotlight was fuelled by both the Weinstein scandal in the US and an undercover report in the Financial Times on the behaviour of guests at the now defunct male-only Presidents Club.
Kieran Pender, legal adviser at the IBA, said the idea to send out the survey was sparked by an exercise it carried out last year which revealed that one in two female lawyers had been bullied in connection with their employment and one in three sexually harassed.
That survey was for women only and sent to around 6,000 lawyers. The latest survey, which will be sent to representative bodies around the world, is open to both men and women and has been translated into seven different languages.
The survey will be open for two months with the results to be revealed at the IBA’s annual conference in Rome in October.