A Langley lawyer has been suspended from practicing for more than four months after he was found to have sexually harassed and made racist remarks to his employees. (Black Press Media file photo)

A Langley lawyer has been suspended from practicing for more than four months after he was found to have sexually harassed and made racist remarks to his employees. (Black Press Media file photo)

Sexual harassment, discrimination bring four-month suspension for Langley lawyer

Incidents took place over several years at local family practice

A Langley lawyer has been suspended from his law practice for four and a half months for sexually harassing and making racist remarks to his employees.

Rowan MacKenzie Davison of Dreyer Davison, a Langley family law practice, agreed to the penalty in a discipline hearing by the Law Society of British Columbia.

Davison “admits that he made unwelcome remarks and engaged in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature at his firm, and that he also made remarks of a racist or discriminatory nature to several employees. We find that the conduct is a marked departure from that standard expected of lawyers and constitutes professional misconduct,” the Law Society decision says.

The incidents took place between 2018 and 2020, and involved several employees.

The decision notes that Davison greeted all employees arriving at the office, and that “for most employees, that greeting involved a hug.” He also kissed some employees on the top of the head, forehead, or cheek.

He tried to kiss at least two employees on different occassions, including one at the 2018 office Christma party.

He also made comments to one female employee that while they were attending an out of town conference they should “get one room together.”

Davison referred to another employee’s ponytail as “bondage hair,” spoke about his sex life with his wife in front of other employees, and kissed one employee on the neck in their office.

On other occasions, he would touch employees without their consent.

He also made various disparaging racial remarks, saying he didn’t like working with South Asian lawyers, and telling another employee not to hire any “brown people,” as he was “tired of the drama brown people bring to the office.”

One witness said that Davison propositioned her for sex three times. Davison told the Law Society he doesn’t remember doing that, but accepts that he said something to that effect. The incident took place shortly after he had his prostate removed and was on pain medication.

The four and a half month sentence was imposed because Davison was in a position of power over the people who complained, and that his behaviour took place in front of witnesses, and continued even after the Law Society had started its investigation.

Once his suspension ends, Davison will still not be allowed to practise law until his law office has an acceptable sexual harassment and discrimination policy in place, and an external lawyer has to be put on retainer to investigate any complaints against Davison related to sexual harassment or discrimination.

Davison has been ordered to pay $3,500 in costs to the Law Society.

In imposing a four and a half month suspension, the hearing panel noted that Davison was in a position of power in relation to the complainants, his misconduct occurred in front of witnesses, the misconduct continued after regulatory proceedings had commenced, and his disciplinary record includes a conduct review for similar behaviour.

The panel also ordered two practice conditions on Davison once his suspension ends, including that he cannot practise unless he or the firm where he works has an acceptable sexual harassment and discriminatory behaviour policy and a suitable, external lawyer is retained to investigate any complaints against Davison related to sexual harassment or discrimination. Davison is also ordered to pay costs of $3,500 to the Law Society.

LangleyLaw & JusticeLawyerssexual harassment

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