Solicitor fined £20k after ‘deplorable’ sexual comments to paralegal in job interview

Interview left 22-year-old girl feeling ‘like a piece of meat’

An skilled solicitor has been fined £20,000 after making sexual comments to a would-be paralegal throughout a job interview.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal discovered that Victor Nwosu made remarks resembling “mmm, I like what I see” to the then 22-year-old job applicant, requested whether or not she had a boyfriend and instructed her to put on a skirt and heels.

The complainant, anonymised as Individual A, instructed the tribunal that the expertise left her feeling “like a piece of meat”.

Nwosu, 51, certified in 2005 and is a sole practitioner at Dylan Conrad Kreolle Solicitors. The agency handles civil and legal litigation, immigration regulation, household regulation, housing and employment regulation.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority hauled him earlier than the tribunal after receiving a criticism concerning the interview, which passed off in April 2018.

Proof earlier than the tribunal included WhatsApp messages that Individual A despatched to her boyfriend and others throughout a break in the interview when Nwosu briefly left the room.

“I don’t know if I want to work here…”, she wrote. “He saw me 20 minutes late and told me how beautiful I was (repeatedly)…”

She additionally despatched voice notes after the interview: “He asked me if I have a boyfriend. He said that I was very very beautiful. He told me that I have to wear skirts when I come into work, he doesn’t like it when women wear trousers. He said that I would only be working for him and nobody else… He asked me if I have a fucking boyfriend, what the fuck does that have to do with anything.”

Nwosu’s solicitor, Jonathan Goodwin, argued that the proof was so weak that the case must be dismissed as “no case to answer”. With the proof “50:50” — Individual A’s phrase towards Nwosu’s — the tribunal had an obligation to throw it out.

Nimi Bruce, the SRA’s barrister, retorted that this “harked back to a dark age when the evidence of a woman was not enough”.

Nwosu denied all of the allegations and mentioned that Individual A was motivated by “female activism gone wrong”. He did admit saying “mmm, I like what I see” in Individual A’s presence however mentioned that “only have been referring to the CV” that he had simply printed a duplicate of.

However the tribunal rejected this competition. It discovered Individual A to be “credible, consistent, reliable and persuasive” as a witness; she additionally had the contemporaneous WhatsApps. Nwosu’s declare to be ogling her CV, in contrast, was at odds with the truth that he had beforehand seen it, plus “the words used were an extraordinary way to refer to an applicant’s professional credentials in the context of a formal job interview”.

The panel additionally discovered proved the allegations that Nwosu had known as Individual A “pretty” or comparable, requested if she had a boyfriend and instructed her to put on a skirt and excessive heels.

Nwosu had prompt that the latter was a misunderstood dialogue of the agency’s gown code. That doc, if something, served to undermine his case: the tribunal known as it “disgraceful”, maybe referring to the bit telling staff not to gown “inappropriately like people working in clubs or Strippers”.

The tribunal went on to find, as an aggravating issue, that this misconduct was sexually motivated. In contemplating sanction, it mentioned that Nwosu’s actions had “caused extensive, direct harm to the reputation of the legal profession” and “represented a grave departure from the requisite standards of integrity, probity and trustworthiness that the public was entitled to expect from solicitors”. Nor had the solicitor demonstrated any perception into his behaviour.

As towards that, there have been a number of mitigating components: “(a) the misconduct related to a single episode during the interview on 30 April 2018, (b) it was of brief duration (less than an hour), (c) previous unblemished regulatory record, (d) full co-operation and (e) the character references on the Respondent’s behalf.”

All in all, the tribunal determined {that a} £20,000 superb was the proper punishment for the “deplorable, unacceptable and discriminatory” behaviour. On high of that, it granted the SRA’s utility for £23,500 in prices.

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