What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 10 February 2020 – 16 February 2020

Damning Bullying Allegations Against Royal Australasian College of Physicians

Victorian doctor, Professor Paul Komesaroff, has launched damning allegations against the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), claiming that a whistle-blower was dismissed by the college. In a series of eight reports lodged to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), Komesaroff highlighted issues of bullying and inappropriate management at the RACP. In one of the reports, Komesaroff alleged that a former HR manager was dismissed from the college after she complained of ‘toxic and heavy blame culture’ and poor leadership. Komesaroff said the former HR manager was ‘highly regarded as effective and successful in her work’, receiving a substantial bonus just weeks before her dismissal. In documents obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald, it was found that ‘the HR manager was offered a very large settlement, many times what she would have been otherwise entitled to on elaborate conditions of absolute secrecy.’ Documents lodged with the ASIC also described the college’s workplace as ‘beset with bullying, favouritism, high staff turnover, intimidation and physicians talking down to more junior colleagues.’ Unsurprisingly, this is not the first time allegations of misconduct have been levelled at the college’s management. The college, which oversees almost 25,000 medical specialists and junior doctors, has long been plagued by reports of mismanagement and poor internal culture. Last year, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission investigated the college and warned its charity status could be revoked if it failed to address concerns regarding the handling of whistle-blower complaints. Following this latest controversy, Professor Komesaroff has demanded that an inquiry be conducted into the RACP. Professor Komesaroff, who serves as president of the college’s medicine division, hopes his submissions to the corporate watchdog will be a test case for Australia’s new whistle-blower laws, which allow protection on the grounds of public interest disclosures.

Workplace Trends for Next Decade: Employers Take Care of Your Employees

Dan Fish of GO1.com has identified three trends set to define work in this next decade. With a new decade underway, he said that organisations must think less about presenteeism and more about ways of attracting, engaging with and retaining employees. These issues, Fish said, are of growing importance as concerns rise over deteriorating mental health in the workplace. The first of these trends, Fish said, is the need for human-centric Human Resources departments to create safer workplaces. Traditionally, Human Resources has been geared toward ensuring the safety and future of a business, rather than the rights of employees. However, moving into the new decade, Fish predicts that the wellbeing of an individual will become a top priority. This trend, he said, will take place against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement and will continue to stamp out non-inclusive cultures. Secondly, Fish predicts that flexibility will become non-negotiable. Moving forward, flexibility will accelerate, as the internet and online platforms enable ‘virtual’ employees to work from anywhere at any time, for any required amount of time. Thirdly, Fish expects that lifelong learning will be central to success. Employees will need to keep learning and upskilling. Research by LinkedIn into workplace learning shows that commitment to employee learning increases retention – 94% of employees would stay longer at a company if it invested in their careers. Fish said that these trends emphasis the ‘force’ in workforce. HR will become more focused on the people who do the work, rather than focusing solely on organisational outcomes.

Older People Not Hired Due to Age

A survey conducted by networking site, LinkedIn, found that nearly one in two baby boomers (44 per cent) believe their age is the main reason for employers rejecting their job applications. This concerning finding adds to reports which showed that employers characterised older workers as slow and incapable of adapting to new technologies. APAC economist Callam Pickering said that stigmatisation spelt bad news for the entire workforce. ‘Putting a monetary value on it is difficult … but speaking more broadly, research consistently shows that there’s huge value in employing people from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences,’ Pickering said. ‘We know that diverse teams tend to be better at problem-solving and they tend to be more profitable as well,’ he added. In other words, discrimination against certain groups is bad for business. However, this hasn’t stopped Australian employers from passing off workers based on their age. A survey conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) found that 27 per cent of older Australians reported having faced discrimination – a large percentage of this being during the hiring process. The AHRC also found that firms tended to look past merit and assumed older Australians were less tech-savvy and would struggle to fit in with their corporate culture. ‘I’ve never felt my age until I had to look for work,’ one respondent told the AHRC.