The Solicitors Regulation Authority has rebuked and fined a male solicitor who made inappropriate sexual advances on a junior female member of staff.
Alan Dennis Green, formerly a partner at County Durham firm Hewitts, was fined £1,000 and also agreed to pay £300 costs and publication of the regulatory settlement agreement reached with the regulator.
It recorded that “on three occasions between 5 October 2015 and 8 October 2015, Mr Green made inappropriate comments and advances of a sexual nature towards a junior female member of staff.
“The member of staff raised a grievance about Mr Green’s behaviour, which the firm investigated. During the investigation, Mr Green resigned from the partnership on 22 October 2015.”
Mr Green admitted that he failed to behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in him and in the provision of legal services, contrary to principle 6 of the SRA Principles, and failed to carry out his role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity, contrary to principle 9.
In mitigation, Mr Green put forward “his prompt admission and acceptance that his conduct was inappropriate, particularly as he was a partner in the firm”, that he resigned from the partnership as a result of his conduct, and that he had a clear regulatory history.
The SRA concluded that the agreement contained an appropriate sanction because: the conduct was deliberate or reckless, and persisted after Mr Green realised or should have realised that it was improper; the agreed outcome was proportionate in the public interest; and that the conduct was neither trivial nor justifiably inadvertent.