It has been confirmed that Herbert Smith Freehills dismissed a senior partner, whom it found had engaged in misconduct. Peter Paradise, the former head of the firm’s projects team in the Asia-Pacific region, was suspended over allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct made by at least two women, and later given a notice of the firm’s intention to dismiss. He chose not to appeal that decision. An internal investigation found that Mr Paradise had contravened the Workplace Policy and firm’s International Standards of Conduct. The CEO of Herbert Smith Freehills, Mark Rigotti, said it was “paramount that the individuals who have come forward feel fully supported… Every one of our people deserves to be treated with respect and dignity”. Since the recent similar departure of senior employees from EY and KPMG, large professional services firms have urged staff to bring forward any allegations of misconduct.
A former employee of Stellar Asia-Pacific in Brisbane has alleged they discriminated against her for being pregnant. Aileen Allen claims that while she was five months pregnant, they made her schedule three unpaid toilet breaks throughout the day. Her employer alternatively threatened to either cut her pay for the time she was in the bathroom or give her the option to compensate by working longer hours. Two other women have also emerged, claiming they too were scrutinised for unscheduled toilet breaks and were told they could be deprived of their bonuses. In response, a spokesperson for Stellar said the corporation does “not condone any behaviour that is not in line with our value of respect”.