Categories:UK,United States

Shearman associate sacked after alleged sex harassment

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  • Chinawhite allwite on the nite?

    S and S sounds like a lovely place to work; if the inappropriate behaviour had occurred at Chinawhite, would they then be accepting liability as that was a firm sanctioned outing...with a reservation?

    Can't keep up the witty standards of the other contributors, but wit is not what is needed now for the sad associate with a fresh P45 in his hand or the "intern" who got her first grown up taste of life in the City .

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  • Harassment

    As with the office christmas party, there's a fine line between work and social.

    A vacation student, indeed any junior employee, is likely to be extremely vulnerable to any suggestions to extend post-work socialising by senior employees.

    The fact that the firm have in this case already sacked the associate for gross misconduct will not however mean the firm escape liability-indeed the opposite could be the case as the firm's action is tantamount to accepting potential unlawful discrimination took place.

    As the victim was a vacation student there would be no loss of earnings, but it wouldn't hurt for the Firm to back up the apology with some compensation for injury to feelings

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    Errr...this was not a situation in which THE GROUP moved on from drinks at the Light Bar to some seedy strip joint. The group at large went on to Chinawhite (where they were presumably guilty of nothing more than bad taste in choice of venue) and THE COUPLE (associate with vac scheme student in tow) went to the seedy joint.

    The vac student may have been understandably naive, and the associate was very clearly guilty of a sackable offence, but I don't quite understand how S&S are liable for harassment except perhaps on a purely respondeat superior basis.

    It is clear from the article that the mysterious "partner in attendance" was in attendance only at the drinks (i.e. neither at Chinawhites nor at the strip club).

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  • Appropriate response

    The Firm have clearly taken prompt action and in doing so sent a message which re iterates their expectations of staff. It is sometimes difficult to draw the line between a work event and a social event but from an employment law perspective the scope of an employer's responsibility is potentially very wide, so that in my view it was entirely appropriate for follow up action from the partnership.

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  • Company Credit Card

    Sat here laughing SO hard. He used the COMPANY CARD to pay to get into the Windmill? Feel a bit sorry for the poor intern getting pushed into a night out with a div like that - he deserved to be sacked for being thick if nothing else...... What was he going to put on the expenses form.....?!! S&S have done nothing wrong here, other than issue a card to someone with no brain. I can smell a News Of The World "SHOCKAH" exlcusive here though. "My night of hell with perv City Slicker...."

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  • Speak up for yourself!

    I have to wonder what the intern was thinking. She was, after all, an adult graduate, not a schoolgirl. She left a group of employees to go to a separate venue with a male associate she had presumably not known for very long (and who, it can probably be safely assumed, was not stone cold sober and suggesting a tour of the Law Society Library). Even if she did not know where they were heading to, surely she must have had some suspicions with regard to such an invitation? Her decision not to simply say that she would prefer to stay with the group shows a surprising degree of either naivety or lack of self-confidence, both of which will be needed if she continues with her chosen career, particularly in a City Firm.

    Unfortunately, although progress has been made, this is a profession where women still experience sexist behaviour. To pretend that isn’t the case is unrealistic and militant attitudes have, hopefully, gone the way of burning the bra. The best we can do is ensure the line is clearly marked and try to deal with potentially tricky situations with a bit of tact and intelligence.

    As with many of the above references to Christmas parties, I also wonder how much alcohol had been consumed by both?

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  • Asking for it

    She went on her own with him and didn't realise it was a strip club? Yeah right. She was clearly up for it and has nothing to complain about. They were is a public place, he made a move and she said no and went home. What's the big deal?

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  • Dumb and dumber

    The silly girl needs to accept responsibility for her own stupidity, not blame the firm.

    As has been said, this was not some naive 14 year old, and what did she think Mr Dumb had in mind when they sloped off together? And how could Miss Dumber not know she was entering a strip club - they're not exactly known for their low key image.

    If she can't deal with a lecherous associate without making such a big deal about it how the hell does she hope to handle working in a City law firm?

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  • Focus on the facts...

    I (unsurprisingly) disagree with Mr. SidtheSexist.

    If you read the article or the story in other journals, it is easy enough to believe that she did not willingly go along with this jerk. Facts:

    1. The Windmill is very close in proximity to ChinaWhite
    2. Piccadilly Circus is extremely crowded on Fri/Sat
    3. Large groups often get separated in crowds
    4. She thought this guy was in charge, knew where the others had gone (it was a "matter of a few minutes" between leaving CW and entering the gent's club).
    5. There was obviously alcohol involved, thus lack of attention to details

    Surely you accept that interns are often led around, practically on a leash, expected to follow the path set by their superiors?

    Add in alcohol, proximity, and the short duration and you suddenly begin to pity the girl.

    If this happened at my firm, I would not think twice before happily voting to let this guy go.

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  • Catching up with the USA

    What a load of rubbish! No wonder this country is going down the tubes. I feel sorry that an incident like this seems to have created so much trauma - why did it take a week for Shearman Sterling to be told of this misdemeanor?

    Could there be a bit of "let him sweat" or could it have been an opportune moment after finishing her vacation seat?

    Seems to me that if notified immediately S&S may have had a chance to investigate the allegation properly and they may have got a different result.

    It will be interesting to see how this all pans out because you can bet your bottom dollar that cash will eventually change hands.Looks like we have a new title to add to other types of compensation claims - like bad judgment...

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