B.C. Code amendments expand guidance on discrimination and harassment

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Amendments to the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia’s provisions on discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment have been approved and adopted by the Benchers at their July 14 meeting.

The changes bring the BC Code more closely in line with the Federation of Law Societies’ Model Code of Professional Conduct.

The recent amendments consist of expanded definitions and specific examples in section 6.3 of the Code, as well as a new rule on reprisals. The commentaries illustrate circumstances that are likely to constitute discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, bullying and reprisals and provide concrete examples of what these behaviours may look like.

The purpose of the new rule on reprisals is to enable people to exercise their rights without fear of retaliation, if or when they inquire about their rights or rights of others, witness harassment or discrimination, make a complaint or help with the investigation of a complaint.

Read section 6.3 of the BC Code to see the changes and commentaries. Lawyers who have questions about the rules and amendments, or have a concern about discrimination and harassment, can contact the Law Society’s Practice and Equity Advisor.

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The Law Society of British Columbia ensures the public is well served by legal professionals who are honourable and competent. We regulate the legal profession in BC, protecting the public interest in the administration of justice by setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct for lawyers. We also bring a voice to issues affecting the justice system and the delivery of legal services.