What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 11 – 17 April 2016

WA Medical Profession Will be Re-vamped in Relation to Inappropriate Workplace Behaviours
A special task force led by the Australian Medical Association and the WA Health Department will be set up to stamp out sexual harassment in WA’s medical workforce. Last year, an AMA WA survey last revealed almost 28% of female doctors and medical students said they have been sexually harassed in the past five years, compared with 8 per cent of the men surveyed. The survey also revealed many victims did not report the abuse, with only 6 per cent of harassed women speaking up. More than two-thirds of all those surveyed said they had not received any workplace information about sexual harassment.

Independent Review of Discrimination in SA’s Police force
An independent review conducted by acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Anne Burgess will investigate gender discrimination, and sexual harassment in South Australia’s police force. The review will invite staff to provide confidential submissions about their experiences in the workplace.

Constructive Dismissal of Employee
The Fair Work Commission has held that John Foster, a former employee at Sushi Tribe was unfairly dismissed. Mr Foster was presented with the option of either taking a voluntary redundancy package or becoming an independent contractor. However, the month after this offer was made, Sushi Tribe retracted their offer. Instead Mr Foster’s duties were changes and his workload substantially increased. Mr Foster was then presented with a new inferior contract. Mr Foster later submitted a “forced resignation.” The FWC held that Ms Foster’s resignation was a constructive dismissal, and in the circumstances, an unfair dismissal.

Damning Enquiry into Geelong Councillors Inappropriate Conduct
An inquiry into Geelong Council found the council was “riven (split) by conflict”, with widespread “bullying, harassment and inappropriate interventions by councilors pursuing their own wants and ward interests”. The report included an allegation that a manager frightened a pregnant staff member by wielding an axe, when she asked for a chemicals shed at her workplace to be better ventilated. The report found Mayor Lyons regularly bullied staff, particularly those he worked closely with, “resulting in the resignation of one staff member and the physical relocation of another”. The report also noted a “deep-seated culture of bullying and harassment”, with staff complaints ignored, and a breakdown in the relationship’ between the mayor, councilors and staff.

Parliament is deciding whether to sack the 12 councillors and place the council in the hands of Commissioners.