What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 18 – 24 April 2016

Victorian Hospitals Implement Tough Plan to Stop Bullying and Harassment
Under a new state government plan, Victorian hospitals could risk losing funding and being fined if they don’t manage bullying and harassment properly. Health workers have described a “toxic culture of sexual harassment, intimidation and fear that punishes those who speak up and allows perpetrators to work unscathed.” This week Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy released the government’s plan: ‘Our pathway to change: eliminating bullying and harassment in health care.’ This report says that health boards and leaders will be educated about the need for bullying and harassment to be prevented and remedied. Workplaces that do not meet expectations risk having ‘anti-bullying flying squads’ deployed, and facing sanction. The report further noted that the department could use funding as a lever to achieve “meaningful cultural change”.

Age Discrimination for Baby Boomers
A study released by Australian Seniors Insurance Agency has revealed that close to half of Baby Boomer respondents claim that they have been turned down for a job past the age of 40 because of their age. Of the respondents surveyed, 60% said they faced substantial obstacles in trying to make a career change or re-enter the workforce. More than 40% admitted that they have felt stuck in an employment rut because a career change, opportunities or promotions are unlikely due to their age.

WA Medical Association Establish Sexual Harassment Task force
A taskforce comprising representatives from the Australian Medical Association and the Health Department has been established to tackle sexual harassment after a survey revealed that many medical professionals had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. The survey of almost 1000 medical professionals revealed 44% of female respondents have experienced sexual harassment at work, while 13% of male respondents have experienced sexual harassment. AMA WA president Michael Gannon said that there is “no question that sexual harassment is unacceptable, unethical and inappropriate.” He further noted that it was especially concerning to see that so few survey respondents had reported the incident(s) of harassment.