What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 16 November 2020 – 22 November 2020

Strong Workplace Racism Experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

The Diversity Council of Australia and the University of Technology Sydney’s Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research have just published the much-anticipated Gari Yala report. The report surveyed 1,033 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from around the country about their experiences in the workplace. The report found that 59 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers have experienced racism based on their appearance and almost a third feel their workplace is culturally unsafe. Thirty-eight per cent reported being treated unfairly because of their Indigenous background ‘sometimes, often, or all the time,’ 44 per cent reported hearing racial slurs in the workplace, and 59 per cent said they had encountered ‘appearance racism’ – receiving comments about the way they look or ‘should’ look as an Indigenous person.

Survey Reveals LGBTIQ People Experience High Levels of Distress at Work

The largest national survey of LGBTIQ people in Australia has revealed that in only 60 per cent of respondents feel accepted in the workplace. The study, Out at Work: From Prejudice to Pride, conducted by the Diversity Council Australia (DCA), RMIT University, the Star Observer, Deloitte and QBE, surveyed 6,835 LGBTIQ+ adults. The study found that generally, more than half of LGBTIQ+ people reported high or very high levels of psychological distress, with 30 per cent falling into the category of ‘very high’ distress. These rates were four times higher than the proportion of the general Australian population.

Brisbane Maritime Museum Shutting Doors Amid Allegations of Bullying

Brisbane’s historic Maritime Museum, which would have celebrated its 50th anniversary next year, is set to shut its door next month following allegations of workplace bullying and a misappropriated $100,000.

Allegations That Farm Workers Treated Poorly

Netherlands backpacker ‘Lotte Van Dijk’ (pseudonym) has said that bullying and exploitation of farm workers is rife in Australia. ‘My farm work experience was one of the worst experiences in my life,’ Ms Van Dijk told The New Daily. She said that male managers would often flirt with their employees and take them out for drinks. ‘If you’re one of those girls who is flirted with, you better be nice because you can be treated poorly very quickly,’ Ms Van Dijk said. She explained that if female farm workers rejected the advances of their male manager, that could and did often lead to bullying and unfair treatment. As The New Daily revealed, only 30 Australian farms have completed the government program, called Fair Farms, designed to ensure workers are not exploited.

Comcare Says Small Number of Complaints Filed Against Federal Politicians

Despite recent bullying accusation against Federal MP and Acting Immigration Minister, Alan Tudge, the Government’s work health and safety authority, Comcare, revealed that only a ‘very small number’ of bullying and harassment complaints have been filed against federal politicians in the past five years. ‘Over the past five years, Comcare has received only a small number of workers’ compensation claims from workers employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act (the MOPS Act) where work-related bullying/harassment was the cause of injury. Not all of these claims were accepted,’ Comcare revealed in an email. The number was so few that Comcare refused to report the total amount for fear of identifying the individuals who have complained. ‘As these numbers are very small, we cannot provide data due to the risk of identifying individuals,’ Comcare said.

Law firm Introduces Mandatory Reporting by All Employees

Law firm Lander & Rogers is leading the legal profession by implementing a ‘no bystanders’ rule and strict guidelines on personal relationships at work. The new policies aim to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace. ‘We changed ‘should’ to ‘must’ – so any staff member who experiences, witnesses or becomes aware of sexual harassment must report it,’ Managing partner Genevieve Collins explained. ‘That shift really reinforces that there is zero tolerance – and there are no confidences to be kept; it needs to be outed – bystanders [staying silent] will no longer be tolerated,’ she added. Ms Collins said mandatory reporting provisions Lander & Rogers were introducing were important because law firms and other professional organisations were ‘getting into trouble.

Female Uber Driver Penalised for Complaining About Sexual Request from Passenger

An Uber driver who was sexually harassed by a male passenger in June was banned from taking passengers on the app after lodging a complaint. The driver, Karen, was driving a male passenger home when he asked if he could pay her for sex. The company’s response – to ban Karen from the app – has prompted some claim that rideshare platforms aren’t adequately protecting female drivers. This is because these companies have also allowed perpetrators to ‘rate them (female drivers) down’ following assaults.

Mental Illness Costs Workplaces $220 billion a Year

The Productivity Commission has found that mental illness costs the Australian economy $220 billion a year.

Young People Rank Equity and discrimination as Number One Concern for Australia

New research from Mission Australia has found that young Australian’s rank ‘equity and discrimination’ as the number one concern for the nation. The survey of over 25,000 Australians aged 15 to 19 found equity & discrimination was the top national problem for young people, with 40.2 per cent of respondents identifying it as an important issue in Australia today. This was over and above the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief of Staff Ms Husic Resigns due to not Feeling Safe at Work

Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s deputy chief of staff Sabina Husic has resigned because she ‘no longer feels safe’ in the role. This occurred after what Ms Husic called a ‘cowardly and weak’ anonymous dossier was circulated with malicious claims about Mr Albanese’s office. ‘Last night I was the subject of a malicious, false, fake and defamatory attack on my character. This was highly distressing and has had an incredibly harmful effect on my personal wellbeing,’ she said. ‘The defamatory attacks and online harassment I have experienced are beyond the bounds of what should be required for this job or any staff position,’ she continued’ ‘For women staff, it is important to feel safe in their roles and workplaces – that very much extends to their mental health and wellbeing,’ she concluded. Anthony Albanese has dismissed anonymous allegations of a culture of bullying in his office.

Court Staff Experiencing Bullying at Work

A new report has reveal that Court guards and sheriffs have suffer from bullying, intimidation and torment at the workplace.