Sexual harassment in the workplace –
Further statement from the AALA National Executive Committee
The Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) notes the recent findings of sexual harassment and discrimination experienced by two former judge’s associates at the hands of former Victorian Supreme Court judge Peter Vickery. These arise from the independent investigation undertaken by Kate Eastman AM SC and commissioned by the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Further to its statement regarding sexual harassment in the workplace published on 30 June 2020, the National Executive Committee of AALA supports the statements made by other legal organisations, including the Women Barristers’ Association and Victorian Women Lawyers in respect of these findings.
This follows in the wake of:
the Commonwealth reaching a financial settlement with, and apologising to, three former associates to former High Court judge Dyson Heydon (whom he was found to have sexually harassed, following an independent investigation undertaken by Dr Vivienne Thom AM and commissioned by the High Court of Australia) last month; and
the report and recommendations from the Review of Sexual Harassment in Victorian Courts and VCAT conducted by Dr Helen Szoke AO (Victorian Review), published early last year.
AALA reiterates that sexual harassment has no place in any workplace and that all members of the legal profession must work together to ensure that it provides a safe environment for everyone, including women. This issue is particularly topical in light of International Women’s Day being earlier this week.
AALA understands that the Supreme Court of Victoria has accepted the recommendations from the Victorian Review, is committed to their implementation and has begun that work. Similar changes need to be made across the legal profession as a whole.
If you have experienced sexual harassment in your workplace, in addition to accessing your workplace’s policies, you may wish to lodge a complaint with the relevant anti-discrimination or equal opportunity Board or Commission in your State or Territory, the Australian Human Rights Commission or Safe Work Australia.
 For the full text of Chief Justice Anne Ferguson’s statement, see: https://www.supremecourt.vic.gov.au/news/statement-from-anne-ferguson-chief-justice-of-the-supreme-court-of-victoria
Download the Media Statement here: