My Post-Law transition is leading me into deeper reflection about the work that I do in the field of professional conduct grievance intervention, and I’d really like to get some feedback on an issue I’m grappling with at the moment.
Many professional conduct review programmes allow grievants to request anonymity or pseudonymity when their grievances escalate to a professional conduct review panel. No problem with that. It protects privacy and allays fears of victimisation. But here’s the thing…
It’s considered good practice to redact all identifying information. Typically, I’d redact name, address, contact details… that sort of thing. It’s also common to redact gender identifying pronouns – his/her; she/he. And that’s what I’m wondering about.
By redacting gender identifying pronouns, might we be erasing something significant? Are there gender or other intersectional overlays to conflicts that should be preserved? I don’t mean in discrimination complaints – gender identity is clearly a material issue there – but in other cases, for example, cases involving more subtle power imbalances between parties to a grievance that might colour conduct that could be characterised as bullying, unprofessional, or disrespectful?
My present thought is that it might be best to let the parties choose whether they want to disclose their gender identity – with the assistance of an explanation about why it could be significant in the circumstances of their grievance.
So, if you were sitting on a professional conduct review panel, are there cases where you would be assisted by knowing the gender identity of the parties? And if so, what sort of cases might they be?
I’d really like to hear your views.
Andrew C. Wood