What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 13 – 19 June 2022

Australia: Is Rejecting a Working From Home Request Bullying?

In a recent application to the Fair Work Commission, it was concluded that rejecting a working from home request did not amount to bullying. In Application by Dr Veronica Hampson [2022] FWC 935, the Commission found that the supervisor had received advice that the employee was fit to attend work. This was the same finding in all 7 prior requests from the employee to work from home. The supervisor even agreed that the employee could work from home 2 days per week. This weighed in the supervisor’s favour as their conduct was objectively reasonable. The conduct did not amount to bullying and no stop bullying orders were made.

‘I Feel and See the Micro And Macro Aggressions In My Workplace Every Day’: Report

Women’s Legal Service Victoria released a report on 15 June that shows a high rate of discrimination, bullying and harassment in the workplace based on ethnicity, race, religion, disability and gender. The Gender and Intersectional Inequality: Power and Privilege in Victoria’s Legal and Justice Workforce report was created with the intention to address intersectional forms of discrimination and disadvantage. Over 300 professionals were surveyed for the study. Of these, 93% were women and 52% were culturally diverse. A quarter of respondents had experienced discrimination based on ethnicity, race or religion. Twenty-two per cent had experienced discrimination based on disability or mental illness. Nearly half of the interviewees had experienced gender discrimination. The report includes recommendations and reflections on how to address inequitable structures in the workplace.

Allen’s Solicitor to Avoid Disciplinary Proceedings Despite ‘Substantiated’ Sexual Harassment Allegations

In 2015 a senior associate, At Allens, sent a text message late at night, suggesting having sex to a then second-year lawyer, who’s house he then went to and continuously rang her doorbell to be let in, only leaving when her father appeared, even though she had told him to go away. He repeated the text for sex, the following day. An internal investigation by Allen’s substantiated that the conduct constituted sexual harassment and he was issued with a first and final written warning. Six years later the complainant decided to make a complaint to the Queensland Legal Services Commission who accepted that there was sufficient evidence to conclude that the behaviour had occurred but decided not to pursue disciplinary proceedings.

Deloitte ‘Exits’ 20 Employees Over Misconduct, Bullying, Harassment Claims

Over the last year Deloitte has investigated 145 misconduct allegations within its company. It has found that 80 of these were substantiated. As result, the company has dismissed 20 employees. The other people accused of misconduct in the remaining 60 claims received unspecified “reprimand”. Fourteen of these allegations concerned sexual harassment. This has set a new benchmark for the big consulting firms in terms of transparency, disclosure and response to misconduct allegations.

Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave on Track To Cover All Workers

Family and Domestic Violence Leave is being implemented across the country, meaning 11 million workers will soon have access to this leave. The New Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations has said that implementing this type of leave in the National Employment Standards is his priority. This form of leave will be paid.

Victoria Cracks Down on LGBTQ Hate Crime at Work

The Victorian government has introduced a new campaign to address workplace violence targeted at the LGBT+ community. The WorkSafe campaign will remind employers of their duty to prevent gendered violence and WHS obligations. It is a form of “putting employers on notice” to ensure sexism, homophobia and gender discrimination is not tolerated in the workplace. The campaign will also encourage employees and Victorians at large to call out inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.