Equity Officer

Equity & Diversity

The Law Society of Manitoba believes that the public is best served by a legal profession that reflects our diverse community.  We are committed to all individuals participating in the legal profession regardless of their age, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status.

Equity Officer – Support Services

If you are experiencing discrimination or harassment, the Law Society’s Equity Officer is available, free of charge, to provide confidential assistance to Manitoba lawyers, support staff, articling students and clients of lawyers.  Support service include:

Informal & Confidential Resolutions

Assisting with informal resolutions or mediating issues or concerns. Your concerns will be kept confidential unless you authorize the Equity Officer to disclose them.   The Equity Officer does not take any action without your permission. The Equity Officer does not provide legal advice and maintains a neutral position.

Education

Speaking to your legal workplace to raise awareness about discrimination and harassment, diversity and inclusion and civility and respect.  The Equity Officer can also meet with you one-on-one to discuss issues or concerns you may have.

Resources & Referrals

Advising on other options for recourse available, such as filing a formal complaint with the Law Society or the Human Rights Commission or starting a civil action. The Equity Officer can also assist you in identifying available resources, such as counselling services or information on equity related issues.

Parental Support

Providing confidential coaching and assistance for lawyers and their spouses or life partners in planning for maternity and/or parental leave and meeting the challenges of becoming new parents.

Additional support is available through Blue Cross Manitoba.

Reporting

Maintaining and reporting anonymous data on incidents of harassment and discrimination. This data is also used to identify proactive steps that we can take to prevent harassment and discrimination in Manitoba’s legal profession.

For additional equity related resources see Practice Pointers on the Law Society Education Centre, where you can locate informational guides and model policies such as the Model Policy on Alternative Work Schedules, Best Practices for Employment Interviews as well as more information on maternity and parental leaves, sickness benefits and child care services.

Equity Committee

The Equity Officer provides support to the Equity Committee which is comprised of benchers and other members of the profession with unique perspectives on equity issues. To learn more about this committee and its members see Standing Committees & Working Groups.

Contact

For equity related questions and/or concerns related to issues of discrimination or harassment contact

Alissa Schacter | Equity Officer and Policy Counsel

Discrimination and Harassment

Discrimination and harassment are against the law and are prohibited by the Code of Professional Conduct.  They are a violation of human rights.

Discrimination in the workplace involves treating someone differently, to their disadvantage and without reasonable cause, on the basis of a characteristic such as race, colour, ancestry, nationality or ethnic background, political beliefs, religion, marital or family status, physical or mental disability, age, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Harassment means abusive and unwelcome comments or conduct that demeans or humiliates a person.  It includes comments on a person’s race, colour, ancestry, nationality or ethnic background, political beliefs, religion, marital or family status, physical or mental disability, age, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination and includes objectionable and unwelcome sexual solicitations or advances, a sexual solicitation or advance made by a person in a position of authority or a reprisal or threat of reprisal for rejecting a sexual advance.