Linklaters has asked its partners and staff to disclose personal relationships that could lead to conflicts of interest at work, as part of a number of initiatives introduced by the London-based legal giant in response to the #MeToo movement.
The Magic Circle firm has said that it expects staff to discuss personal relationships with “office, group or practice heads or [human resources] contacts,” in order to help manage “actual or perceived conflicts.”
While making it clear that it does not prohibit consensual relationships between colleagues, Linklaters said it wants to alert staff to potential issues that can arise when people are in a direct reporting line, or where one person can influence the “performance assessment, career progression, promotion work allocation or remuneration of the other.”
The firm highlighted relationships between a partner or director or an employee and contractor as examples that could lead to difficulties.
“It is not about prying into personal information, but about acting as a responsible business by supporting our people,” Linklaters said in a statement.
Separately, Linklaters has also launched an external “whistleblowing hotline” to enable staff to raise concerns about harassment, discrimination and bullying in the workplace.
The initiative, called SpeakUp, is currently available to the firm’s staff in the Americas, Asia and the U.K., with plans to roll it out to other international offices.
The SpeakUp hotline is provided by an external company, meaning that individuals raising concerns are able to do so anonymously. Issues are then passed on to an internal group within Linklaters that allows for an investigation to take place.
The firm said the hotline had been introduced to reassure those coming forward with genuine concerns that there would be no potential for any repercussions.
The two initiatives come after Linklaters recently exceeded its target for female partner promotions, with women making up 37 percent of its 27-strong partnership round. Ten women have joined the partnership, with half of those promotions occurring in London.