Changing Behaviours for the Better

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What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 7 – 13 August 2017

Allegations of Sexual Harassment and Bullying in Jaggad Fashion Company
Fashion label Jaggad, of former football player Chris Judd, is the subject of an ongoing legal dispute. Staff members have made various claims of regular occurrences of sexual harassment, bullying and abuse in the workplace and maintained that the organisation failed to act. The former general manager, Nancy Mo, has also levelled allegations against Mr Judd’s business partner, Steven Greene, claiming that he was a “sexist bully” and that he abused staff. Ms Mo complained to the chief operating officer but was told taking action would “make things even worse”. Attempts to raise her concerns to the board were also unsuccessful. Ms Mo was made redundant following maternity leave and after failed attempts at a resolution with the Fair Work Commission in April 2017, her employment was terminated. Her case is currently being heard in the Federal Court.

Allegation of Bullying in SA Education Department
There have been calls to ban a South Australian Education Department official, following claims he bullied staff at a Youth Education Centre. While visiting a campus of the school organisation, which caters to troubled youth and those in detention, the official allegedly made “inappropriate comments about other [school] leaders” and bullied the principal in order to have him “accept unworkable budgets that breach the Enterprise Agreement 2016”. Staff alleged that the principal was verbally abused over a phone call after they rejected the official’s suggestions. Howard Spreadbury, the state president of the Australian Education Union, said in a letter that the official had made staff “fear for the wellbeing of colleagues” and led to their “being (psychologically) injured”.

Chief Executive of the South Australian State School Leaders Association, John Gregory, has said in response to the matter, “I’ve had too many of my members bullied and reduced to tears by aggressive senior officers. If a principal in a school did this [to their staff] they would be up for investigation”. The principal concerned has since taken sick leave.

Qld Survey Reveals Public Sector Stats in Relation to Bullying and Sexual Harassment
The most recently released Working for Queensland survey has revealed that 27% of employees in the public sector witnessed workplace bullying or sexual harassment in the past year. Results showed that 16% of respondents were the victims of bullying and 1% the victims of sexual harassment. Of those who reported having witnessed the highest percentage of bullying and harassment, 90% came from health services. Despite the results, it appears that the prevalence of bullying in the public sector has declined, with the figure of 27% having dropped from 36% in the 2013 results.

Robert Settler, the Queensland Public Service Commission Chief Executive, said that departments had acted to address results and that the Queensland Public Service Commission was undertaking new training and introducing new wellbeing frameworks to help in resolving these issues. According to Mr Settler, “all of these elements seek to positively impact on employees’ workplace experiences”.