Supporting a safe and healthy legal workplace

The Guidelines at a glance

The guidelines provide a framework to create a workplace which is psychologically safe and healthy.

Ensuring safety is a prerequisite to the promotion of health.

A psychologically safe and healthy workplace is one where:

leaders:

  • Protect and promote the psychological well-being of all staff
  • actively work to prevent harm to psychological health due to negligent, reckless or intentional acts. 

all staff:

  • feel confident that it is ‘safe’ to speak up
  • and that neither management nor members of their team/colleagues will embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up.

The Guidelines :

WHY the guidelines?

Healthy people think better and make better decisions

1. Is there really a problem?

Statistics:

  • 33% of lawyers and 20% of barristers suffer disability and distress due to depression; they do not seek help and self medicate with alcohol.
  • Alcohol abuse in legal profession is extremely concerning
  • High rate of suicide and suicidal ideation among lawyers
  • Law students and young lawyers most vulnerable
  • 80% of disciplinary matters involving lawyers have an underlying mental health issue

What is it about the workplace?

Evidence:

DO NOTHING?

Increases:

  • liability
  • risk
  • staff turnover
  • presenteeisim
  • complaints
  • bullying & harassment
  • insurance premiums
  • costly claims

LOWERS

  • staff engagement
  • productivity
  • staff retention
  • discretionary behaviour
  • profit

Healthy people think better and make better decisions:

  • good for people
  • good for business
  • good for mental health
  • WIN WIN for all

Healthy People:

  • are more productive and efficient
  • make fewer errors
  • engage in discretionary and pro- social behaviour-less bullying, harassment
  • reduce costs- less turnover, recruitment, insurance premiums, stress leave, claims
  • retain -corporate knowledge, expertise and experience
  • reduce stress to managers

Healthy people:

have new ideas

  • are able to adapt to changes
  • are the KEY to innovation

The TJMF Guidelines:

  1. Organisational culture: there is trust honesty and fairness
  2. Psychological and social support: supported and able to get help when needed
  3. Clear leadership and expectations: they know what to do in their work as well as how their efforts contribute to the overall goals of the organisation.
  4. Civility and respect:  they are treated with respect and courtesy 
  5. Psychological competencies and requirements:  they have a good job fit
  6. Growth and development: they are encouraged and supported to develop  personally and professionally
  7. Recognition and reward:  they are acknowledged appropriately in a timely manner and appreciated appropriately for the work they do
  8. Good involvement and influence by staff:  they are included in discussions about their work and are able to participate in how decisions are made.
  9. Workload management: they are given the time and resources necessary to complete their work successfully
  10. Engagement : their work is meaningful
  11. Balance: they have choices and opportunities for flexible working arrangements to accommodate their work, family and personal priorities.
  12. Psychological protection:  it is safe to speak up and that appropriate action will be taken and protection provided
  13. Protection of physical safety:  their physical safety is protected

AIM of the GUIDELINES is to:

  • To prevent  injury
  • create a psychologically safe and healthy workplace
  • provide a framework for change
  • sustain ongoing improvement

 

What do I need to know about the guidelines?

  • they are:
  • voluntary- a  choice
  • a tool not a rule
  • not one size fits all
  • freely available
  • downloadable on website www.tjmf.org.au

NB: Compliance is not required

There are no pre-requisites

 

Implementation support:

  • overseas learning and experiences
  • relevant research
  • Implementation toolkit – ‘starting the conversation’
  • Shared learning experiences
  • Opportunities to share initiatives

What now?