What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 18 January 2021 – 24 January 2021

Sexual Harassment Claims by ‘More Feminine’ Women Believed More Often than Less Feminine Women!

A new study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that perceptions of a woman’s femininity and attractiveness influence whether claims of sexual harassment are believed. The study found that ‘prototypical’ women who appear and act more feminine are believed more often, while accusations made by women seen as less feminine or not fitting female stereotypes are seen as less credible.

Non-prototypical women are neglected in ways that could contribute to them having discriminatory treatment under the law; people think they’re less credible — and less harmed — when they make a claim, and think their perpetrators deserve less punishment,” said Bryn Bandt-Law, study co-author.

40% Mining Industry Experienced Sexual Harassment in Past Five Years

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has found that 40 per cent of employees in Australia’s mining industry have experienced sexual harassment in the past five years. The AHRC’s Respect@Work Sexual Harassment National Inquiry (2020) also found that women in mining are more than twice as likely to experience sexual harassment than their male counterparts. The shocking findings within the report prompted the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) to take action to eliminate workplace sexual harassment. In making a strong statement about the importance of abolishing sexual harassment from the workplace, MCA has committed to expanding the industry’s safety and health policy. The MCA plans to do so by establishing a Respect@Work Taskforce. The taskforce will report to the MCA National Safety and Healthy Working Group and use models from the MCA’s Safety, Healthy and Respectful Workplaces policy to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in workplaces. MCA chief executive, Tania Constable, said ‘[s]afety is the core value of the Australian minerals industry and a safe and fair workplace is essential.’ ‘Yet with the commission’s report finding that 40 per cent of the minerals industry workforce had experienced sexual harassment, it is clear that the industry needs to lead a decisive response and take stronger action,’ she added. ‘Sending a clear message across the industry and the community that sexual harassment is unacceptable and will not be tolerated will put the sector on the right path for change,’ she continued.

CEO Cleanaway Waste Management Resigns Amidst Bullying Allegations

Chief Executive of Cleanaway Waste Management, Vik Bansal, has resigned following allegations of bullying and harassment under his management. While described as a ‘mutual decision’, the company said that ‘it is the right time for Cleanaway to move forward under new leadership.’ The resignation comes amid an investigation into the waste management company by Comcare, the federal government’s workplace health and safety agency. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is also set to investigate Cleanaway and the waste management sector following a number of concerns raised about potentially harmful acquisitions.

Mandatory COVID Vaccination Could be a Breach of Discrimination Laws

Employment and industrial law barrister Ian Neil told 7NEWS.com.au it is likely that ‘many’ legal cases will arise with the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine. ‘If employees’ objection to the vaccination is because of their political or religious opinion, well, (it’s) unlawful to discriminate against them for these reasons,’ he explained. In that case, mandatory vaccination would constitute a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act.

Racial Harassment Law Suit by Indigenous Professor

RMIT University has been hit with $2.9 million lawsuit by an indigenous professor who claims he was fired for complaining about racial & sexual discrimination within the university.