A partner at Baker McKenzie allegedly sexually assaulted a female associate, it has emerged.
The alleged assault, first reported by RollOnFriday, is understood to have occurred after a work event.
The associate received a payout from the firm and entered into a confidentiality agreement before leaving.
The firm said the incident referred to by RollonFriday took place several years ago and was reported by the HR team. Baker McKenzie immediately launched an investigation into it.
It subsequently imposed sanctions on the partner concerned, who has remained at the firm.
A Baker McKenzie spokesperson said: “We take any allegations of inappropriate behaviour or misconduct extremely seriously. This incident occurred several years ago and was reported by our HR team at the time. The firm treated the allegation very seriously and immediately carried out a thorough investigation, including obtaining both external and internal advice.
“On completion of the investigation, the firm imposed sanctions on the partner concerned. A confidential settlement was then reached with the employee, which we are not in a position to discuss. Our Code of Business Conduct reflects the values of our organisation, and we expect all of our people, whether partners or employees, to abide by the principles and standards of behaviour set out in that Code.”
The revelations come as law firms are facing increasing scrutiny about what they do to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
In the wake of the Presidents Club male-only charity dinner scandal, research undertaken by Advisory Excellence demonstrates a disparity between how men and women partners feel about male-only networking events.
Eighty-six percent of respondents to the survey – which gained responses from more than 250 partners – say law firms need to make corporate networking activities more inclusive, including almost 50% who think firms must try “much” harder.
Earlier this month, Dentons suspended a male partner in response to allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
The firm has launched an internal investigation into the claims, which refer to behaviour by the partner when he was at legacy Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens, which merged with Dentons in July last year.