Quit before disciplinary meeting could take place
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has sanctioned a Scottish solicitor for touching a colleague in a “sexual manner” without her consent.
The SRA found that Gordon William Herd, at the time an associate at Dentons, acted inappropriately towards the unnamed female in September 2021 whilst at a work social event at a bar in London.
The public disciplinary finding states that Herd “placed his leg between her [his colleague’s] legs while rubbing her thighs, he rubbed her back and bottom and stood so close to her that she felt uncomfortable”.
Dentons conducted an internal investigation, substantiated the woman’s grievance, and arranged a disciplinary meeting. Before this could take place, however, Herd resigned from the firm. The matter was then reported to the SRA.
Herd, who was admitted to the Scottish roll in 2016, is now subject to a section 43 order, preventing him from working for any firm of solicitors without the SRA’s prior written permission.
In imparting this sanction, the SRA said that the “conduct was serious because during a work event he [Herd] repeatedly touched a female colleague in a sexual manner without her consent. He was directly responsible for his own conduct which made his colleague feel vulnerable, uncomfortable and distressed.”
A spokesperson for the Dentons said: “We take such incidents very seriously and are committed to providing a working environment free from harassment and ensuring that all staff are treated, and treat others, with dignity and respect. The associate in question left the firm following an internal investigation and we reported the incident to both the SRA and the Law Society of Scotland.”
Herd was also ordered to pay £600 of costs.