find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Claims proceed against Clayton Utz

Claims proceed against Clayton Utz

Claims of disability discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation being made against Clayton Utz by a former employee will be allowed to proceed, after the NSW Administrative Appeals…

Claims of disability discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation being made against Clayton Utz by a former employee will be allowed to proceed, after the NSW Administrative Appeals Tribunal (ADT) granted leave last Tuesday.

The ex-employee, Michael Mitchell, originally brought the claims against Clayton Utz and a number of employees to the Anti-Discrimination Board, but they dismissed these claims for lack of substance.

Mitchell then sought leave to have the matter heard before the NSW ADT.

Mitchell commenced with the firm as a solicitor in 2007 but was dismissed six week later.

However, Mitchell, who has been diagnosed as bipolar, claims the real reason he was dismissed was because he refused to provide detailed information about his medial condition.

He also claims he was subjected to harassing remarks by fellow employees, including "trench" and "flasher" when he told them he had changed into sports clothes beneath his trench coat. He claims he then responded to the comments by asking two of his colleagues on separate occasions whether they had been fantasising about him in his trench coat, to indicate he was an "easy going person".

The NSW ADT determined last week that some of Mitchell's claims were arguable. He will be allowed to proceed with some complaints of disability discrimination, sexual harassment, and victimisation against the firm and a number of employees. He was refused leave for a number of other complaints.

Clayton Utz has rejected the claims, with spokesperson telling Lawyers Weekly last week: "Mr Mitchell's claims, which we reject, remain untested before the Administrative Decisions Tribunal and were dismissed by the Anti-Discrimination Board as having no substantive basis. There is no merit to the claims and we will vigorously defend any claim that is pursued."

Responding today, Mitchell released the following statement to Lawyers Weekly: "NSW case law clearly states that it is 'difficult, if not impossible, to determine if there is substance to an allegation prior to a substantive hearing' (Ehl v. Department of Education and Training) Therefore, it was deeply troubling that the President of the Anti-Discrimination Board dismissed all of my complaints as being without a substantive basis prior to a substantive hearing, especially considering that the President did not explain his reasons in any way. Following the President's decision, Clayton Utz's legal counsel Kate Easton argued that in order for me to be granted leave to pursue my complaint, I was required to demonstrate to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal that my complaint, was an "obviously meritable complaint," and I was obviously successful in doing this, as the ADT granted me leave to pursue multiple complaints of sexual harassment, disability discrimination and victimization against Clayton Utz. Considering that leave is granted in only a handful of occasions each year, the ADT's decision to grant me leave is very satisfying."

The Mitchell/Clayton Utz dispute previously hit the media headlines when Mitchell attempted to contact a former colleague via Facebook. Read the full story here.

- Zoe Lyon

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Claims proceed against Clayton Utz
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...