The Law Society provides BC law firms with the services of an Equity Ombudsperson to deter workplace discrimination and gender-based harassment.
Role of the Equity Ombudsperson
The Equity Ombudsperson confidentially assists anyone who works in a law firm to resolve concerns about discrimination or gender-based harassment.
The Equity Ombudsperson is independent of the Law Society and reports only anonymous statistical data.
What is discrimination?
Discrimination in the workplace involves unwelcome comments or actions that relate to:
- place of origin
- political belief
- marital or family status
- physical or mental disability
- sex or sexual orientation
Discrimination is illegal — contrary to both the BC Human Rights Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act. It is the impact of the behaviour — not the intention behind it — that determines if the behaviour is discriminatory.
The Law Society's Code of Professional Conduct Handbook for British Columbia also prohibits discrimination and harassment.
What is harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination based on sex and is a serious abuse of power:
- unwanted touching, sexual flirtation, advances or propositions
- suggestive comments about a person's sexuality or sexual orientation
- unwanted questions about a person's sex life
- persistent unwanted contact or attention after the end of a consensual relationship
Other forms of discriminatory harassment
- racial slurs
- religious jokes
Member Survey – Equity Ombudsperson Program