Norton Rose Fulbright has launched a packaged offering in Australia, capitalizing on growing client demand to address legal and compliance issues spurred by the #MeToo movement.
The products, titled #MeToo and corporate culture, offer compliance audit, training and investigations support in two broad categories: educational advice to prevent sexual harassment from taking place and reactive measures in the case of a complaint being made.
The former includes exercises and training to help human resources managers and employees understand the standard of acceptable behaviors, according to a marketing brochure for the offering. The latter involves advising employers on post-complaint investigations procedures, communications tactics and making disclosures to the stock exchange.
Norton Rose is offering fixed-fee service packages ranging from a A$1,000 (about $720) 45-minute training session with employees to a A$3,000 corporate policy audit that identifies potential risks and proposes mitigation strategies.
The offering is part of the global firm’s Australia employment and labor practice, which has nine partners across offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
“It’s an innovative approach,” said Sydney-based employment partner Sally Woodward, who added that she is not aware of any other firm in Australia offering similar products dedicated to sexual harassment in the workplace.
“The firm has been advising clients on sexual harassment in the workplace for a long time, but given the increase in awareness from the spotlight of the #MeToo movement shining on sexual harassment, the firm decided to launch the offering,” she said.
In June, Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner, Kate Jenkins, launched a national inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace. And in September, a national survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission showed that 39 percent of women and 26 percent of men have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the past five years.
Norton Rose’s Woodward said several clients in Australia have already shown interest in the new offering since its launch this week. The firm currently has no plans to launch the offering elsewhere, she said.