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#thatsnotcool: UK firm Travers Smith leads gender discourse with safe word campaign against dodgy office talk

Not cool, says law firm dude...
Not cool, says law firm dude...

UK firm Travers Smith has introduced “That's not cool” as a phrase and hashtag that anyone at the law firm is intended to be able to use in response to anything that a colleague has said or done that makes them uncomfortable, reported The Lawyer (requires free registration to read).

The firm's partners decided on the phrase to empower its staff to call out inappropriate language at the firm in a discussion session and have decided to use it in hashtag format as #thatsnotcool through inclusive language seminars run by its corporate social responsibility group.

Travers managing partner David Patient told The Lawyer: “It is about trying to promote inclusion in the broader sense.We were trying to find a way to empower people to support each other. If someone finds something that has been said uncomfortable, they don’t have to shy away, they can say ‘That’s not cool’ and immediately the whole situation is defused. It’s not about blame or ridicule, it makes things non-confrontational.”

In 2016 Freshfields Buckhaus Deringer banned use of the term “Dear sirs” from all its communications and legal documents and Baker NcKenzie was recently forced to issue an apology over the way it handled a sexual misconduct complaint made by its associate several years ago, instructing Simmons & Simmons to conduct an external review, added the report.

If any Indian law firms have taken similar creative approaches to tackling sex harassment at the workplace, please let us know.

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