We aim to create an environment at Russell Kennedy that is characterised by equal access and respected participation of all groups and individuals. This is regardless of all differences, including of culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity, age, religion, personal circumstances, physical features, abilities and disabilities, socioeconomics and sexual orientation.
Russell Kennedy has a culture that embraces our people’s differences and fosters diversity and inclusion. We aim to support a culture where individuals of all backgrounds feel included and confident in bringing their whole selves to work, and where their talents are fostered, empowering them to contribute to the success of the firm.
We have implemented a number of initiatives focused on accessibility for people with disabilities, LGBTIQ inclusion, and cultural diversity and inclusion. For example:
The Russell Kennedy Diversity Committee sets the firm's diversity and inclusion strategy and sponsors initiatives to promote diversity in the workplace. The D&I Committee is chaired by Paul Gleeson
, Managing Director.
The current areas of focus for the D&I Committee:
- Cultural diversity (including a Reconciliation Action Plan)
- Accessibility for people with disability
We aim to create and inclusive experience for employees and customers/clients. We have a detailed access and inclusion strategy that encompasses our people, clients, community and organisations to address all aspects of access and inclusion.
We are proud partners of Australian Network on Disability and in December 2019 we made our first submission to its Access and Inclusion index and are working hard to ensure we consider the needs of people with disability in all areas of our operations. This means responding to the individual needs of existing and potential employees to enable equal access to employment, training and development and the products and services we deliver to our clients and community.
Access RK Clerkship
We have established a program to ensure that we offer at least one seasonal clerkship position to a student with disability. The program provides the successful applicants the opportunity to showcase their skills and gain experience in a legal environment whilst enjoying all the benefits of the Seasonal Clerkship Program.
Russell Kennedy has a formal Workplace Adjustment policy, to ensure that all of our people are able to use their skills and experience to contribute to the success of the firm. This includes the opportunity to participate, without discrimination in both work-related and other activities conducted within a work context.
Russell Kennedy recognises the importance of having a gender diverse workforce. Our Gender Equality policy links to the Gender Equality Strategy and details our commitment to ensuring our workplace policies support and enable gender diversity throughout the career life cycle of our employees.
Russell Kennedy Lawyers is pleased to be publically recognised as an organisation committed to gender equality by the granting of an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation for the fifth straight year.
It recognises market-leading employers who have shown an active commitment in achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces.
Russell Kennedy Women's Network (RKWN)
The RKWN creates
opportunities to empower women through connection and development. We take a
proactive role in promoting the growth, advancement and retention of women
working in law and the wider business community.
Male Advocates for Gender Equality (MAGE)
The MAGE Committee works in partnership with the RKWN to support the firm’s gender equality initiatives, with a particular focus on what men in the workplace can do to promote equality and remove barriers for women.
Kaleidoscope, the Russell Kennedy Cultural Diversity Working Group, has
been established to focus on cultural diversity at RK by implementing
initiatives to improve opportunities for people of diverse cultural backgrounds
to work at Russell Kennedy and contribute to our ever growing workplace.
Russell Kennedy has committed to LGBTIQ inclusion through a number of initiatives.
We have established Pride@RK, a network for LGBTIQ staff, allies and supporters, which is committed to supporting LGBTIQ inclusion measures and raising awareness at a firm and community level. Pride@RK also arranges social events as well as more significant activities such as the firm’s participation in the 2020 and 2023 Midsumma Pride March and celebration of the 2021 Mardi Gras festival.
In May 2022, Russell Kennedy was awarded gold in the small employer category of the Australian Workplace Equality Index, which is a measure of best practice in LGBTIQ inclusion measures.
The Executive Sponsor of the Pride@RK Leadership team participates in the Executive Ally Forum established by Pride in Diversity and PwC, to keep track of developments in best practice. We regularly review our policies and practices to advance and support LGBTIQ inclusion at the firm.
We have introduced a Gender Affirmation or Transition policy, including access to paid leave and guidelines for our leaders, managers and colleagues to support individuals with their gender affirmation or transition.
We have made amendments to existing policies to adopt inclusive language, which include a gender-neutral dress code and extension of parental leave policies to a broader range of family structures.
In addition, Pride@RK supports the firm to roll out initiatives such as unconscious bias training, LGBTIQ Awareness, LGBTIQ Awareness training for HR, and Ally training.
If you require any further information or would like to have a confidential conversation about Russell Kennedy’s LGBTIQ initiatives or recruitment support for transgender and gender diverse candidates please contact Leanda Nissen, Director, People and Culture on (03) 9609 1523 or via email to email@example.com.