Lavan Legal is committed to sustainable business practices. We make a commitment to good corporate governance, business continuity, sustainable business practices and to the assurance of quality in everything we do.
Our business operations are guided by the following policies:
- Employee Well-Being Policy;
- Ethics and Honesty Policy;
- Equal Employment Opportunity Policy;
- Health and Safety Policy;
- Environment Policy;
- Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy; and
- Diversity Policy.
To view these policies, please click on the boxes above.
Lavan Legal places a high value on the health and well-being of its employees and is committed to providing an environment that encourages a healthy workforce. As a responsible employer with a ‘duty of care’ to its staff members, Lavan Legal seeks to gain a balance between business and personal pressures and demands.
Lavan Legal recognises the importance of taking steps to reduce workplace stressors, which invariably affect the work-home interface. Providing training and good management at work has benefits that extend into all areas of life.
Partners and staff are offered the following health and related benefits:
- yoga classes are offered throughout the week to all staff;
- the firm makes a financial contribution towards gym memberships when staff members sign up for a minimum of 12 months;
- a continental breakfast is available in the Staff Lounge each morning where Foxtel is also provided. This venue is open all day for staff to eat lunch or meet up with colleagues in a relaxed and comfortable environment with first class facilities provided;
- staff are invited to have a drink and relax in the Staff Lounge at the end of their working day;
- seminars on health, stress and personal well-being are provided to all staff on a regular basis throughout the year;
- flu injections and skin checks are offered to all staff each year;
- Lavan Legal supports and actively encourages staff to participate in various sporting activities including the Rottnest Swim, Walk for the Cure and the iiNet Team Sprint Cup;
- counselling is provided to staff members as required;
- ergonomic assessments are available if required; and
- the firm has a Corporate Healthcare Agreement with HBF and is able to offer staff a discount if their membership fees are paid through payroll.
Lavan Legal provides all new staff with a thorough and intensive induction programme to assist them to settle in and to provide information on the firm’s policies and procedures as well as systems training. As part of the induction programme staff members are advised from the outset where they can turn for help and support.
Lavan Legal complies with all relevant local and national laws and regulations with regard to occupational health and safety and the provision of health related benefits to staff members.
The world has witnessed, of recent times, some spectacular examples of corporate deceit and unethical behaviour – Enron is the best example in the US and HIH is as good an example closer to home. It is said that for every actual corporate crook there are at least ten corporate deceivers – people who fool themselves that things are other than they appear to be. In the case of an Enron or an HIH, not all the key players could be described as crooks but clearly there were many deceivers.
Sir Walter Scott once wrote: ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. ’Deceit invariably demands further deceit until eventually it collapses under its own weight.
The accounting profession, particularly in the US, has suffered badly as a result of the corporate collapses that the world has recently witnessed. Arthur Andersen was always generally admired as one of the very best of the large accounting firms. Its demise didn’t come about as a result of any lack of accounting expertise but rather episodes such as the shredding of evidence in the Enron saga which tend to indicate that individuals within it were prepared to assist in a process of deceit.
There is, therefore, a real crisis of confidence in the accounting profession. It was always thought, particularly in the area of audit, that they were independently vetting the ‘system’. Instead, in many instances, they have been seen to be an integral part of the system – simultaneously performing both auditing and consulting services, having partners and former partners sitting on boards and audit committees and filling the accounts departments of their clients with their ex-employees and ex-partners.
As lawyers, our first and fundamental obligation is to act honestly, ethically and with integrity in everything we do. We have duties and responsibilities to the court, duties and responsibilities to our clients and duties and responsibilities to each other which we can only discharge properly by being completely honest. There is no greater attribute that we can bring to the role and there is no greater failing in that role than to act without full and complete honesty and integrity.
A lawyer at Lavan Legal must:
- recognise the primary duty to the court and the administration of justice within which the legal profession operates;
- consistent with that primary duty, act with undivided loyalty to each client; and
- treat everyone with whom the lawyer engages in the practice of law with courtesy, dignity and respect.
To summarise our duties to act honestly, ethically and with integrity:
- there must be a clear and universal understanding that we value complete honesty, ethical behaviour and integrity above all else and we cannot and should not accept anything less;
- truth means the full and complete truth – we cannot ‘shape’ the truth, we cannot deceive in any way and there cannot be any misconception that honesty equates either to something which is not quite dishonesty or which amounts to only part of the story or position; and
- no-one should ever feel pressured to act in any way other than with full honesty and integrity and if any such pressure is ever felt or observed then people must feel free to report such incidents or episodes rather than to bend to that pressure or to see others bend to that pressure.
It is absolutely essential that we have a clear and common understanding on this issue and a culture that facilitates honesty at all times and in all respects.
Lavan Legal is committed to the principle of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for all staff members irrespective of gender and based on merit.
Lavan Legal ensures that no employee or job applicant is discriminated against and denied equal treatment compared with any other employee or applicant because of:
- sexual preference;
- marital status;
- political conviction;
- social background; and/or
- personal connections.
Lavan Legal embraces an EEO strategy ensuring that best practice mechanisms for recruitment, promotion, remuneration, training and staff development are formulated focusing on sound principles of merit.
Discrimination refers to 'unfair discrimination' which means making choices based on irrelevant factors and denying an individual fair and equal treatment.
It is the firm's responsibility to ensure that all recruitment, promotion, remuneration, training and staff development, including involuntary separations, are undertaken without discrimination.
Each partner, manager and supervisor has the responsibility for maintaining a work environment which is free from discrimination. Employees are treated equally and are given every opportunity to develop their career and personal aspirations based on merit.
The Human Resources Department is responsible for the Affirmative Action Program which involves:
- establishing, co-ordinating and monitoring the program;
- preparing the annual Affirmative Action Report;
- considering policies and examining employment practices to identify any procedures that may constitute discrimination against women;
- eliminating any discriminatory practices; and/or
- developing and implementing training programs on affirmative action.
Lavan Legal complies with all legislation encompassing Equal Employment Opportunity.
Where a staff member perceives that they are being discriminated against for any reason they should initially discuss the circumstances with their supervising partner/supervisor. Alternatively, the grievance should be referred to the Human Resources Department.
The supervising partner/supervisor or human resources representative will liaise with the employee and any other party involved to try to resolve the problem.
Where the complaint cannot be resolved or is of a very serious nature the problem will be referred to the managing partner. All grievances will be dealt with immediately and confidentially.
Where the complaint is not resolved the employee may take their case to the relevant authority.
The firm is committed to ensuring a safe and healthy working environment and makes every effort to provide safe working conditions by reducing stress and other hazards for its employees.
Safety is every employee's responsibility. Particular issues are:
- not to endanger any other person through any act or omission at work;
- the need to report all work-related accidents as soon as they occur;
- immediate reporting of apparent hazards in or around the office eg electronic equipment, broken fixtures and fittings; and
- maintaining an awareness of and complying with office evacuation and emergency procedures.
Emergency and evacuation procedures
In the event of fire or other threats to safety, it may be decided to evacuate the premises. Emergency warnings for evacuation will be communicated through the building's intercom system or by fire alarm. Fire wardens will direct staff to the assembly areas and assist them in exiting the building.
In these events all employees must comply with the fire warden's directions.
Fire wardens and emergency procedures
A list of the firm's fire wardens is on the noticeboard in the small communications room/utility areas on each floor and on the intranet under ‘General Information’. Further details are available from the Human Resources Department.
The Emergency Evacuation Procedures are accessed from the intranet under ‘General Information’.
Accidents should be reported to the Human Resources Department immediately. Detailed records of accidents will be maintained.
First aid supplies for minor injuries are dispensed and controlled by the firm and administered by the Human Resources Department. Supplies include disposable gloves for the safe handling of injured employees.
Employees taking analgesics do so at their own risk.
For serious injuries
- Telephone for an ambulance and advise the Human Resources Department.
- Inform reception of the floor and location of the injured person.
If you suffer from a medical condition it is advisable to inform the Human Resources Department with any relevant particulars. This information will remain confidential and will be used only in the case of an emergency.
The names and locations of employees with current first aid certificates can be obtained from the Human Resources Department. All fire wardens attend emergency first aid training and have current certificates.
Lavan Legal is committed to working with industry and the community to understand and minimise the firm’s impact on the environment. Part of this commitment is a desire to become a carbon neutral firm.
Lavan Legal is a signatory of CitySwitch Green Office, which is a select group of leading organisations who acknowledge that climate change is a serious issue and greenhouse gas emissions from commercial buildings contribute to this global concern. A visible demonstration of the firm’s commitment is Lavan Legal’s participation in Earth Hour each year. We won the CitySwitch Green Office Award (Western Australia) in 2011 for our efforts in becoming more energy efficient.
Lavan Legal is a member of the Australian Legal Sector Alliance (AusLSA), which is an industry-led association working collaboratively to promote sustainable practices across the legal sector.
Lavan Legal’s environmental initiatives are a continual and evolving process and include the following:
- An objective in our 2011/2012 Business Plan is to conduct an audit to assess Lavan Legal’s ability to become carbon neutral and, if so, to implement a plan to achieve this.
- The single largest source of our carbon emissions is electricity consumption. Our goal is to reduce electricity based emissions through efficient use of power. This is monitored by checking monthly meter readings for each work area and by an annual NABERS audit.
- Paper is recycled with dedicated cardboard recycling bins located in all offices and workstations. We utilise duplex printing and are in the process of enhancing our online file management system to further reduce paper consumption.
- Sensor lighting is used after hours. Office lights are switched off during non-office hours. De-lamping is currently being investigated and LED lights are being trialled in some offices.
- All office appliances have a four star energy rating or above.
- LED computer screens with a Gold EPEAT rating are used across the firm as they are twice as energy-efficient as alternatives.
- Servers have been virtualised and desktop PCs have been replaced with low energy consumption ‘thin clients’.
- Biodegradable products and water saver taps are used in the kitchens.
- Old and unused mobile telephones are collected and sent to a charity to be recycled.
- We work with our building management to ensure property related environmental initiatives are in place to reduce our carbon footprint.
Lavan Legal complies with all relevant environmental legislation and will continue to measure its impact on the environment and set targets for ongoing improvement.
This policy is reviewed annually to assess achievements and to monitor progress.
Introduction and Purpose
Lavan Legal has a well established reputation for conducting business in an ethical and honest way.
Individually, and as a firm, we value, promote and maintain the highest levels of integrity, ethical behaviour and accountability.
Lavan Legal has a zero tolerance approach to bribery and corruption. The firm’s policy is to conduct all business in an honest and ethical manner.
Lavan Legal is committed to:
- upholding and abiding by applicable bribery and corruption laws;
- not offering or paying bribes of facilitation payments, or condoning the offering of bribes or facilitation payments, so as to gain a business advantage;
- not accepting bribes, or agreeing to bribes being accepted in order to influence business;
- ensuring that all partners and staff members accept and understand the firm’s policy;
- avoiding doing business with others who do not accept Lavan Legal’s policy and who may harm the firm’s reputation or expose it to legal liability; and
- monitoring and auditing compliance with these principles on an ongoing basis.
Who is responsible for compliance with this Policy
This Policy applies to all:
- partners and staff at Lavan Legal;
- consultants, seconded staff, casual staff and staff members working from home; and
- any other person who acts for or on behalf of or represents Lavan Legal.
What are Bribery and Corruption?
Bribery is the most common form of corruption and can be broadly defined as offering, promising, giving, accepting or soliciting an advantage as an inducement or reward for an action which is illegal or a breach of trust.
Although many people think of bribery as involving giving someone cash, it can take many other forms including non-cash gifts, lavish entertainment or hospitality or even simply doing someone a favour.
Bribery takes place if:
- a person is provided with a gift, donation, discount, cash payment or other valuable incentive or a person is taken out for particularly lavish hospitality, and
- this was intended to induce or reward that person to behave improperly or not to perform their function correctly or in good faith.
It is important to remember that in most cases it will be irrelevant whether the bribe was accepted or not. Merely offering the bribe will usually be sufficient for an offence to be committed.
Bribery can be direct (eg a person gives a bribe to someone) or indirect (eg a person procures someone else to give a bribe to another person).
Key risk areas for Bribery and Corruption
Gifts, Entertainment and Hospitality
Gifts, entertainment and hospitality include the receipt or offer of gifts, meals or tokens of appreciation and gratitude, or invitations to events, functions, or other social gatherings, in connection with matters related to our business. These activities are acceptable provided they:
- fall within reasonable bounds of value and occurrence;
- do not influence, or are not perceived to influence, objective business judgement; and
- are not prohibited or limited by applicable laws or applicable industry codes.
Lavan Legal Partners and staff must not accept gifts or entertainment where to do so might influence, or be perceived to influence, objective business judgement.
This policy does not prohibit giving normal and appropriate hospitality to, or receiving it from, third parties.
What is not acceptable?
Circumstances which are never permissible include examples that involve:
- a ‘quid pro quo’ (a benefit or advantage offered for something in return);
- gifts in the form of cash or cash equivalent vouchers;
- entertainment of a sexual or similarly inappropriate nature; or
- making incomplete, false or inaccurate entries in Lavan Legal’s systems or records.
The acceptance of gifts and/or hospitality/entertainment invitations must be pre approved by the Managing Partner or your Supervising Partner or Manager.
Any breach of this policy will be regarded as a serious matter by Lavan Legal and will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or contract.
To create, promote and maintain an environment within the firm in which its people fairly and instinctively consider and respect the needs and interests of all people of all backgrounds.
Lavan Legal is committed to ensuring diversity is an integral part of the way we do business.
We recognise the value of attracting and retaining staff members with different backgrounds, knowledge, experiences and abilities.
These objectives are achieved by:
- Promoting diversity through our actions.
- Providing diversity education and training.
- Taking action to prevent and stop discrimination for any reason.
- Maintaining a culture that empowers staff members to act in accordance with this policy.
What is diversity?
Diversity recognises and values the contribution of people with differences in background, experience and perspectives.
Diversity encompasses gender, age, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation and religious belief.
Lavan Legal promotes diversity in the workplace by:
- Providing an inclusive workplace that embraces individual differences.
- Providing a workplace that is free from discriminatory behaviours and business practices.
- Providing equal employment opportunities for all based on capability and performance.
- Having an awareness of the different needs of staff members.
- The provision of flexible work practices and policies to support staff members.
- Increased creativity and innovation by attracting and retaining a diverse range of talented people.
The Diversity Committee is responsible for examining issues, sharing ideas and ensuring best practices regarding diversity and the firm’s workplace culture.
This Policy is to be read in conjunction with the following Lavan Legal policies which are available on the Intranet in the Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manual:
- Equal Employment and Anti Discrimination.
- Sexual Harassment and Bullying.