Workplace Harassment and the Legal Profession

  • June 21, 2022

This meeting was held at 05:30 PM at Richards Buell Sutton LLP, Boardroom in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Guest Speakers

- Cayleigh Shiff - Lawyer at the SHARP Workplaces (Sexual Harassment Advice, Response and Prevent for Workplaces) legal clinic at the Community Legal Assistance Society
- Jessica Forman - Employment lawyer and workplace investigator at Forte Law
- Julie Menten - Workplace lawyer and Partner at Roper Greyell LLP

- Paula Price, lawyer coach and non-practicing lawyer (BC)



The legal profession, just like any other profession, is not immune from harassment and sexual harassment occurring in our workplaces. It is an ongoing issue that disproportionately affects women, regardless of age, level, or industry, but our profession has a number of characteristics that make it especially susceptible to these types of behaviors occurring. Compounding this, there are qualities unique to our profession that can make it particularly challenging for women lawyers to speak up, know who to turn to, or even recognize when they are experiencing, or observing, harassment or sexual harassment taking place.

This meeting explored topics like:

·         What constitutes harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace;

·         What makes the legal profession unique;

·         Options for lawyers who think they’re being harassed;

·         Legal and non-legal considerations at play when making a complaint;

·         What you can do as a bystander;

·         Implication of the #MeToo movement on how claims are handled;

·         Why you may not want to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement; and

·         Trends in the legal profession around workplace tolerance for sexual harassment.

Speaker Biographies

Julie Menten is a partner at Roper Greyell LLP. She provides trusted advice to and represents employers in all areas of workplace law, including employment, labour, human rights, occupational health and safety and privacy law. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Julie was a therapist and mental health expert for over a decade. Her unique background allows her to support her clients in addressing challenging and complex workplace issues involving mental health and addiction. It also makes her particularly adept at conducting effective and comprehensive investigations into workplace issues such as allegations of bullying and harassment, sexual harassment or discrimination. Prior to joining Roper Greyell, Julie was a clerk at the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

Jessica Forman is an employment lawyer and workplace investigator at Forte Law. Originally from Southern California where she attended law school and practiced as a commercial litigator in a large U.S firm for several years, Jessica relocated to Richmond, B.C. over 10 years ago with her husband and three kids and worked for a large regional firm in Vancouver for several years before deciding to focus her practice on employment law. She has spent the past six years working with employees and employers to avoid workplace conflicts as well as assisting them with court actions. Jessica loves speaking about workplace issues and regularly conducts seminars on issues like harassment and workplace safety. She is a passionate facilitator of her firm’s StandUP Teams™ program.

Cayleigh Shiff is a lawyer for the Community Legal Assistance Society’s SHARP Workplaces Legal Clinic where she provides free legal advice to clients experiencing sexual harassment at work in BC and delivers education and training workshops about workplace sexual harassment.

Paula Price is a certified executive coach and non-practising lawyer who helps lawyers excel in practice through coaching, speaking and virtual training. In her coaching practice, Paula provides lawyers with structure, support, accountability and feedback to help them achieve their goals and overcome challenges in areas of career transitions, including transitions from traditional legal practice to non-traditional roles, within and outside of law. Paula also coaches lawyers around returning to work after parental leave, outplacement, networking, strategic professional growth, time management and communication. For practical strategies to help you build a career you love, tune into Paula’s weekly podcast, The Joyful Practice for Women Lawyers. Learn more about how to work with Paula at Uplevel Lawyer Coaching.

Duration of meeting was 1.5 hours. Of this, 1.5 hours can be counted towards CPD.