What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 1– 7 January 2018

EveryAGE Counts to Target Age Discrimination in the Workplace
A campaign against age discrimination, called EveryAGE Counts, is set to be launched in autumn. EveryAGE Counts is centred on “changing social norms… in the same way as racism and sexism”. It is being spearheaded by several agencies, including The Benevolent Society, and a network of seniors. The employment sector is one among a series of areas in which the campaign is targeting stronger, more robust laws and policies. Despite the fact that age discrimination is illegal in Australia, discrimination in employment is still “rife” according to Marlene Krasovitsky, campaign director of older Australians at The Benevolent Society. Thus, she said there was a “need to look at recruitment priorities and attitudes”. Ms Krasovitsky also highlighted the fact that problems can arise from workplaces with similar age groups. She suggested that “intergenerational connection” would foster more positive perceptions of older workers.

Bullied Employee Awarded Maximum Compensation
Hawkesbury Race Club must compensate a former employee who was psychologically injured as a result of workplace bullying (in the case of Vivienne Leggett v Hawkesbury Race Club [2017] NSWWCC 292). Vivienne Leggett had worked as the club’s sponsorship manager for 25 years when Greg Rudolph was appointed CEO. Ms Leggett told the Workers’ Compensation Commission that within five months of his arrival, he had intimidated, “humiliated, harassed and bullied” her to the point that she was depressed and having suicidal thoughts. Although Mr Rudolph denied these allegations, the Commission found in favour of Ms Leggett, holding that her employment was the “main contributing factor” to her injury. Notably, they described one email sent from Mr Rudolph to Ms Leggett as both a “cross-examination” and an “abusive inquisition”. The Commission has awarded her the maximum possible compensation available under the Workers Compensation Act, which, in addition to reasonably necessary medical expenses, will equate to $2058.10 every week until early 2019.

Regular training is important for employers to minimise their liability. For more information on training options for your workplace, contact Clair at EEO Specialists.