What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 14 – 20 December 2015

Victorian Fire Fighting Services
A review into Victorian fire fighting services has found a culture of bullying and a lack of gender diversity within the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and the Country Fire Authority. The report, which will be released next year, was charged with looking at the management, resources and culture of the MFB and CFA. The percentage of women involved in fire fighting services is quite low, around 3% of women employed as staff in the CFA and MFB, and 15% engaged in volunteer fire fighting.

$1.3 million payout for Sexual Harassment Claim
Kate Mathews, a former road construction worker, subjected to workplace bullying and sexual harassment has been awarded a $1.3 million payout. The Victorian Supreme Court accepted that Ms Mathews was frequently subjected to offensive remarks or conduct including being told by a co-worker that “anything that bleeds once a month should be shot.” On another occasion a co-worker told her that he was going to “follow (her) home, rip her clothes off and rape (her).” The Court accepted that Ms Mathews was reluctant to complaint to her foreman, as he was responsible for some of the offensive remarks, and when she did make a complaint, her foreman laughed. The Court found that Ms Mathews had sustained very considerable psychiatric injuries as a direct consequence of the bullying, abuse and sexual harassment. As a result of these psychiatric injuries the Court accepted that it is unlikely that Ms Mathews will ever work again.

This is an awful example of what happens when there is a culture of sexual harassment and management did not take responsibility for stopping the behaviour and there was no effective complaint management process.

If you want to ensure your training for management is effective and you have an appropriate complaint management process then contact Franca at EEO Specialists on (08) 6102 4411 for a risk assessment. EEO Specialists are taking bookings for 2016.