What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 14 – 20 March 2022

Can I Fire an Employee For Their Social Media Posts?

Social media and the internet create added challenges for the human resources industry. In 2011, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) confirmed that employers can make employment decisions based on an employee’s personal social media posts. This has been reiterated in the 2022 decision of Corry v Australian Council of Trade Unions. The FWC upheld the dismissal of an employee at the ACTU after he posted highly offensive and discriminatory comments on his Facebook account. The post referred to domestic violence and Black Lives Matter. The employee had previously made posts that were anti-Semitic, homophobic, transphobic and racist.

Labor Senators Deny Kitching Bullying Allegations

All three Labor senators who were accused of bullying Kimberley Kitching have denied the allegations. Penny Wong, Kristina Keneally and Katy Gallagher issued a joint statement on 18 March 2022, denying the claims. The senators have said they will attend Kitching’s funeral, after she died last week as result of a heart attack. The bullying complaint was made by Kitching in the months preceding her death to an external workplace trainer.

Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Women’s Network Logo Slammed On Social Media: ‘You Couldn’t Write This’

The logo for the Women’s Network has received backlash online for looking like male genitalia. The design has been criticised as offensive, “thoughtless” and “poor messaging”. People have also questioned the use of public money on such a poorly executed design. This has been labeled the latest “in a long line of missteps” by the Coalition when dealing with women’s affairs.

Australian National University Fails in Bid to Sack Maths Professor Who Was Sexually Intimate With Student

The Australian National University (ANU) attempted to fire Dr Scott Morrison after he kissed and swam naked with a student. The Fair Work Commission decided that the professor be reinstated at the Mathematical Sciences Institute and given six months’ pay. Dr Morrison was dismissed in January of 2020 after he invited a student to skinny dip at the beach. The Fair Work Commission labeled the incident as “clumsy” and that it could not be characterised as a “close personal relationship” given it lasted no more than 30 minutes.

Tasmania’s Clarence City Council Workplace Culture Slammed in Report

Edge Legal conducted a review into Clarence City Council’s workplace culture. The conclusion was that the Council had a “high degree of interpersonal conflict” between elected members and “destructive” communication. The overall workplace culture was considered unsatisfactory. Edge Legal has recommended that the elected members undertake communication and behaviour training.

Power To Prevent Coalition Asks Scott Morrison’s Government to Complete Respect@Work Response

The Power to Prevent Coalition has called upon the federal government to address sexual harassment prevention before the federal election. The group consists of 60 members, both individuals and companies. Members include Women’s Legal Centre ACT, the ACTU and Sexual Assault Services Victoria. The coalition is pushing for the Respect@Work recommendations to be implemented. Other groups, such as the National Tribune, have released statements with similar sentiments.

Guidelines For the Inclusion of People With Disability In Golf

The Australian Human Rights Commission and Golf Australia are collaborating to develop guidelines on how to better include people with disability in golf. The guidelines will promote inclusivity at golf clubs and provide guidance on how to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth). Golf clubs are often a big contributor to community engagement. Sporting clubs are obliged to comply with equal opportunity legislation. The guidelines will be created after a series of virtual roundtable consultations are completed.

ESafety Joins Global Partnership to End Online Abuse of Women

ESafety is Australia’s online safety regulator. The Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, has announced that eSafety has signed up as a founding member of the Global Partnership to End Online Harassment and Abuse. The initiative is led by the US White House Gender Policy Council and aims to end gender-based violence online. The group recognises, among other things, the economic impact of online abuse of women. The Commissioner recognised that women are over-represented in complaints made to eSafety regarding image-based violence and cyber abuse.

Dyson Heydon’s AC Should Be Terminated, Say Fellow ACs

Four members of the Companion of the Order of Australia have expressed want for former High Court justice, Dyson Heydon, to have his appointment revoked. The members calling for this action are Dawn Fraser, Mark Leibler, Margaret Jackson and Philip Pettit. Their stance comes after allegations of sexual harassment by the former judge.

Aussie University Draws Human Rights Complaint From Senior Lecturer

A complaint has been lodged against the University of Queensland to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHCR). The complaint has been made after a letter was sent from a student to senior lecturer Joel Katzav. Dr Katzav, who is Jewish, said that the university failed to adequately deal with the letter which contained anti-Semitic content. The student had accused Dr Katzav of trying to “whitewash” the work of German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, due to his Jewish background. The Vice-Chancellor of the university has said that Dr Katzav remains a highly respected part of the community and that his contribution as a researcher and lecturer is valued.

Qld Premier’s Dept Ignored Bullying Plea

Queensland’s Integrity Commissioner, Nikola Stepanov, has alleged that the Public Service Commission chief executive called her a “bitch on a witch-hunt” in 2018. Robert Setter, the chief executive, has denied the claim. Ms Stepanov has claimed that her plea for mediation on the bullying matter was rejected by Mr Setter.