4.10.06

Day 3 (week 1): Political correctness day

It was political correctness day yesterday. First I had the chat from the Boss. He told me that if I was being sexually harassed that I was to come to him. However, “for the avoidance of any doubt”, he went on without even a hint of irony, if I believed that he was sexually harassing me, I should go to the Head of Chambers. Yes, of course, I said. Certainly. I’ll do that. Must not forget.

Well, the Head of Chambers was quite different. There are two men and two women doing this pupillage and we were all herded into his very grand room. After a brief introduction telling us that Chambers had been founded some sixty years ago and that we were following in a fine line of young barristers before us, he continued. “Now. I’ve got to tell you this. Bar Council regulations and all that. Sexual harassment. Terrible mess. Hope it doesn’t happen. However, if it does, I’m bound to inform you that you should report it either to your pupilmaster or to me. This is without reservation and you should be fully aware that we comply entirely with the bar Council policy on this issue. I’m also bound to tell you that should you make any such complaint it will not be held against you in this Chambers.”

Well, that was that and now we knew.

Except it wasn’t.

“However, I’m probably shouldn’t say this, but it’s meant in the most helpful way. Consider it practical advice from an old hand at the Bar. Bear in mind that whilst you are absolutely within your rights to make any such complaint, in fact more than within your rights, you must not forget also that there are consequences to every action. This is always the case and is no different here. Whatever you do has consequences whether you notice them or not. I can’t say what they’d be in these circumstances but you have to be aware that not all Chambers or barristers are as enlightened as us. Not that they’d actively discriminate against you in those circumstances. It’s just that you should know that they would know. That’s all.”

Welcome to the modern Bar.

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