What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 17 – 23 January 2022

‘Rude And Disruptive’ Employee Loses Bullying Claim

An employee’s recent application for unfair dismissal based on bullying allegations was dismissed on the basis that his manager’s behaviour constituted reasonable management action.

The employee was an account manager tasked to manage business customers. He was subject to performance indicators, including a target number of calls to be made each month. He failed to meet the monthly target, so his employer put him on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).

The employer then informed him of a meeting to discuss “disciplinary action against him” for breach of their code of conduct, such as speaking and treating his manager in an “inappropriate and disrespectful nature”.

The employer also said he was “dismissive” of performance targets set by the management, “preferring to pursue his own priorities and methodology”. It also said that he referred to his female manager “by masculine terms including ‘dude’ and ‘bro,’ continuing after she asked him not to.” He also “openly questioned and criticised her conduct and experience.”

In its decision, the FWC said that the monthly call targets, which was the PIP’s basis, were a “reasonable and lawful direction.”

Considering the evidence, the FWC said the employee had been “rude and disruptive” and agreed he “should have been placed on the PIP” for his disregard of company policy. It also said the management’s decision was “reasonable” and the employee “had not been bullied at work.”

Lawsuit Details Claims Against One Of Murdoch’s ‘Closest Cronies’

The former editor-in-chief of The Daily Telegraph, Col Allan, has been accused of sexual harassment by a former colleague. The colleague, former editor-in-chief of the Post website Michelle Gotthelf, filed a lawsuit on the matter. She claimed that Mr Allan was a bully who propositioned her for sex. The lawsuit has been filed in a US District Court. The sexual harassment is said to have been most intense in 2015. Ms Gotthelf had made complaints to human resources at the New York Times, where the two worked together. Ms Gotthelf has since been moved on from her position at the Post, which she believes is directly linked to her harassment allegations.

Teachers Sacked for Sexuality Oppose Bill

At a recent Senate inquiry into the proposed religious discrimination bill, information has come to light that a Mr Nathan Zamprogno and Ms Karen Pack were let go from religious organisations on the basis of their sexuality. Mr Zamprogno was employed in the NSW Christian school system for 20 years. His teaching career came to an end when he was challenged by a school for his sexuality and subsequently sacked. Similarly, Ms Pack was fired by a Sydney college after her engagement to her wife. Her employer started receiving hostile calls and emails. In response, the college ended her employment.

Coalition’s Religious Discrimination Bill Sends ‘Dangerous Signal’, Muslim Groups Say

The primary focus of the religious freedom debate has been through the Christian perspective. Recently, the Australian Muslim Advocacy Network (Aman) has publicly addressed the religious discrimination bill. Aman says the bill “imposes a heavy burden on Muslim communities who are already marginalised and feel highly vulnerable.” The comments were in relation to exemptions in the proposed legislation that would allow discrimination in cases where the person discriminating is “performing a function or exercising a power relating to law enforcement, national security or intelligence.” Aman noted the double standard in how Muslims are racial profiled under the false pretence of defending national security.