Law firm hired to run 3rd-party review of London’s harassment policy

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The City of London is moving forward with the review of its harassment and discrimination policies, announcing a law firm with a national presence has been hired to oversee the process.

Officials announced Thursday morning Rubin Thomlinson LLP was engaged to investigate the dozens of recent allegations of workplace harassment and misconduct from a variety of municipal departments.

The firm, which has offices in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, will also conduct a review of London’s existing policies and procedures as well as develop an interim intake and investigation process for those employees who feel uncomfortable reporting allegations through the current system.

RELATED: London city council approves 3rd-party review of harassment policies

Speaking on the Craig Needles Show on 980 CFPL, Ward 7 Coun. Josh Morgan said the review needed to be done.

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“There are some real concerns and people need an outlet,” he said. “They need a safe place to come forward with their concerns and they need to be dealt with effectively.”

As for what the new system will look like, Morgan said he doesn’t know, but it will have to be crafted properly.

“Obviously it needs to be created in a way that people feel very comfortable coming forward and they know that action is going to be taken based on it.”

RELATED: Retired firefighter details harassment allegations at London Fire Department

Rubin Thomlinson’s hiring comes a little more than a week after city council voted in favour of moving ahead with a third-party review of the municipality’s policies and procedures.

During the meeting, city manager Martin Hayward said the city was committed to a complete review of the workplace culture at city hall, including members of council.

“We believe it’s important from the point of view of independence, given all the accusations that have gone on, and the concerns being expressed in the media, we feel a third-party review is the way to go,” Hayward said.

RELATED: Accountability of London senior staff critical in harassment policy review: HR expert

“We’ve heard from some that our policies and practices aren’t working. We take this seriously because every employee deserves to come to a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination,” managing director of Corporate Services and Human Resources, Bill Coxhead, said in Thursday morning’s statement.

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“We believe that Rubin Thomlinson LLP has the expertise to help us identify and address any areas of our current approach that aren’t working.”

As of midday Thursday, officials with the city have declined to comment further.

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