What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 10 July 2023 – 16 July 2023

Survey Finds Half of Female Engineers Experienced Discrimination and Harassment

A recent report published by Professionals Australia has found that over one half of female engineers surveyed in Australia have experienced gender-based discrimination in the last three years. The report involved a survey of over 1,400 engineers across Australia on topics including experiences at work and mental health. The report found that 22 per cent of female engineers had experienced sexual harassment in the industry, while 34 per cent stated that discrimination was a key reason, they wanted to leave the profession. The survey found that 45 per cent of engineers had cited that workplace stress was the “number one factor negatively impacting their mental health,” while “over 35 per cent cited poor management and over 25 per cent reported unreasonable workplaces.” Additionally, Ms McCabe stated that the engineering profession required “more recognition and career advancement opportunities for female engineers,” including “flexible working arrangements and changes in workplace cultures.”

Basketball Coach Shane Heal Sues Women’s National Basketball League Over Bullying Claim

Basketball coach Shane Heal has sued the Women’s National Basketball League club in the Federal Court, claiming that the Sydney Flames breached “employment law.” According to the article, Sydney Flames commenced an investigation earlier this year in relation to Mr Heal’s conduct following bullying complaints made by players. Mr Heal was suspended by the club while an independent investigation was conducted. It is alleged that Mr Heal had asked a player “what the f**k she was doing” during a game and while at training. Further, Mr Heal has been accused of telling a player they had “stuffed up” while in front of the team. Mr Paul Smith, owner of the Sydney Flames, provided evidence on Tuesday this week to the Federal Court denying that there was a “predetermined outcome” in relation to the investigation. The court was informed that Mr Heal had told a co-owner of the Sydney Flames that he had made “derogatory comments about middle-aged men working in womens’ sports.” Mr Smith stated that he “wanted to ensure there was an arm’s length process” and that he had hired a third-party service to conduct the investigation. Mr Smith stated that he did not “want any sense of directing traffic or determining anything” and that he “wanted to ensure there was a level of independence” in relation to his role. Mr Heal has denied the allegations, stating that he had not acted in a manner at any stage that risked the health and safety of any person or player.

Former Lawyer Sues City of Perth for Unfair Dismissal

A former lawyer at the City of Perth has commenced an unfair dismissal claim against the council and chief executive officer Michelle Reynolds. According to the article, Ms Michelle Antonio has lodged an unfair dismissal claim in the Supreme Court of Western Australia, alleging that she had not been provided with protection in accordance with Western Australia’s whistle-blower legislation. Ms Antonio was employed as general counsel at the City of Perth for a duration of two years before she left her role in February 2023. Ms Antonio is claiming that her dismissal arose “from the conduct of the defendants between about 23 of January and 6 February.” Ms Antonio is seeking relief and damages for the “wrongful termination and breach,” as well as compensation under the Western Australian Public Interest Disclosure Act.

Former Teacher Fails to Overturn Unfair Dismissal Decision

A Perth private school teacher has failed to overturn his unfair dismissal claim following a physical altercation with a student. Mr Jeb Hendricks was dismissed from Irene McCormack Catholic College following an investigation which found that he had engaged in a physical dispute with a female student in 2022. Mr Hendricks was accused of “grabbing a student by her backpack and ponytail” after he had seen the student “throwing a stick at other students as a large cohort walked along a footpath.” Mr Hendricks reportedly asked the student to walk next to him after viewing the incident which she then refused. Mr Hendricks had then grabbed the student from behind her and had shouted at her. Mr Hendricks had attempted to overturn the dismissal in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) last month, with the Commission finding that the dismissal was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable. FWC deputy president Melanie Binet stated that “Mr Hendricks is not a young and inexperienced teacher who might easily become flustered or who had not had the opportunity to have established his authority among the student cohort.” Further, Ms Binet stated that she did not accept that “the physical intervention or verbal aggression engaged in by Mr Hendricks was appropriate or necessary.” Ms Binet stated that there were valid reasons for Mr Hendricks’ dismissal.