Inappropriate Personal Conduct

The OLSC is committed to eliminating inappropriate personal conduct from the legal profession.

What may constitute inappropriate personal conduct?

In this context, inappropriate personal conduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, workplace bullying, discrimination and harassment in the legal profession.

The following descriptions are provided to assist you to understand the nature of different types of inappropriate personal conduct. It is not intended as, nor should it be relied on, as a substitute for legal advice.

Sexual harassment may include:

  • unwelcome sexual advances
  • unwelcome requests for sexual favours
  • other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated, where a reasonable person would anticipate that reaction in the circumstances

It does not have to be repeated or continuous.

Workplace bullying may include:

  • repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety
  • repeated less favourable treatment of a person by another or others in the workplace, which may be considered unreasonable and inappropriate workplace practice. It includes behaviour that could be expected to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate

It does not include reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner.

Discrimination in the workplace may include:

  • an employer (or manager) taking adverse action against an employee because of their background or certain personal characteristics
  • a person or a group of people treating another person or group of people less favourably because of their background or certain personal characteristics

Harassment in the workplace may include:

  • offensive, humiliating or intimidating behaviour based on or linked to a person’s background or certain personal characteristics

Beyond individual lawyers who engage in inappropriate personal conduct, it is the OLSC's view that law practices and barristers who practice together from chambers have an obligation to prevent a culture of inappropriate personal conduct. This may include having appropriate policies and taking reasonable steps to respond to this conduct and preventing this conduct by persons who are not lawyers.

Pathways to report inappropriate personal conduct

Everyone has the right to feel safe at work. We encourage anyone who has been subjected to, has witnessed, or has knowledge of inappropriate personal conduct to notify the OLSC.

There are two pathways available to report inappropriate personal conduct in the legal profession. These are:

  • An informal reporting process which can be completed online or via phone call. An informal report can be made anonymously
  • A formal complaint process which must be completed in writing. The Uniform Law does not allow formal complaints to be made anonymously

Our guiding principle is to never cause you further trauma. The OLSC has a highly dedicated and specially trained Personal Conduct Team (PCT) to assist you to report inappropriate personal conduct.

Further information or assistance

Call (02) 9377 1865 during business hours and leave a message for the PCT saying you wish to speak about a Personal Conduct issue with your contact number. The PCT aims to respond to calls received within one business day.

If you have any feedback about the process of reporting inappropriate personal conduct, please email us at or call us at (02) 9377 1865. You can provide this feedback anonymously.

Other bodies that you can contact for assistance:

The PCT is unable to offer immediate responses or emergency support. If at any time you or someone else’s life is in danger, phone 000 immediately.

Other support services you can contact for assistance:

  • Lifeline (13 11 14) 
  • Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636)
  • 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)
  • Solicitor Outreach Services (1800 592 296) – available to solicitors who hold a current practising certificate from the Law Society of NSW
Last updated:

01 Nov 2023

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