Ex-law firm staffer banned over WhatsApp sexual harassment

An ex-staff member at law firm DWF has been banned from working in the legal profession after sexually harassing a junior colleague by sending her sexually explicit WhatsApp messages.

Matthew Unwin, a former financial management executive in DWF’s Manchester office, has been barred from working in the legal industry, according to a notice published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Unwin worked for DWF between 6 February 2012 and 25 September 2018 as a financial management executive. He was not a solicitor and not involved in legal practice. He was dismissed by DWF on 25 September 2018 for gross misconduct.

“It was found that between March/April 2018 and September 2018, Mr Unwin sexually harassed a junior colleague by sending her sexually explicit WhatsApp messages,” the SRA’s notice said.

The SRA said it was “undesirable” for Unwin to be involved in legal practice and debarred him from working for a solicitor, the employee of a solicitor or any recognised body in the legal industry without the SRA’s permission.

The SRA also ordered Unwin to pay £600 in costs for the SRA’s investigation of the matter.

Unwin could not be reached for comment. DWF declined to comment.

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Financial News reported in June that City bosses had seen a rise in sexist, discriminatory and unlawful chats since the start of the pandemic and mass homeworking.

Surveillance companies that help banks, funds, private equity and trading firms track employee behaviour, told FN that firms have seen a rise in misconduct amongst remote-working staff.

Behavioural analytics firm Behavox, which is backed by Softbank Vision Fund 2, said its clients saw an 18% increase in alerts generated by the platform to flag dodgy behaviour when their staff began homeworking in March compared to the month before.

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To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth

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