What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 12 – 18 March 2018

Academic Claims Employer ANU Discriminated against her
A law academic has filed a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission alleging that her employer, ANU, discriminated against her because she was a woman. Dr Skye Saunders, who specialises in sex discrimination law, claims that she has been paid less than her male colleagues for the same work. She made the complaint following unsuccessful discussions with the university in 2017. Dr Saunders expressed her desire for a “fruitful conciliation” at the commission. However, if that does not succeed, her complaint may then be heard by the Federal Court of Australia.

Herbert Smith Freehills Suspends Partner Over Sexual Harassment
Herbert Smith Freehills has suspended one of its senior partners on grounds of alleged sexual harassment. After two women claimed he had engaged in misconduct, the firm conducted an investigation which found “sufficient evidence from multiple sources to conclude that the partner’s behaviour contravenes[d] Herbert Smith Freehill’s International Standards of Conduct”. As a result, the firm gave the partner a “notice of intention to dismiss”. It has sent an email to its global partners and staff alerting them of its zero tolerance policy towards such behaviour. It is one of three high-profile professional services firms in the past month to have been forced to remind its employees to conduct themselves appropriately.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sexually Harassed Colleagues According to Independent Investigation
The first report of an independent investigation has found that former Melbourne Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, sexually harassed two women at work. The report made several adverse findings against Mr Doyle, including that he grabbed one fellow councillor’s breast after a meeting, and repeatedly stroked the thigh of another councillor, whom he also tried to kiss. Despite his strenuous denials, investigators, headed by Dr Freckelton QC, were “satisfied the inappropriate conduct occurred”, all after Mr Doyle had drunk large amounts of red wine. Further allegations against him are yet to be published in a second report. While the first report could not be made available in its entirety, these details emerged in a summary provided by the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Melbourne.