What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 19 – 25 September 2016

WA Department of Aboriginal Affairs Rife with Bullying
A Public Sector Commission survey has demonstrated that more than quarter of staff at Western Australia’s Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA), have witnessed bullying and other unprofessional conduct in the workplace. Almost half of those responding said they were likely to leave the department within the next two years. A DAA spokesman said there had been no formal reports of sexual harassment, bullying, stealing or ethical issues in the past 12 months. Opposition Indigenous affairs spokesman Ben Wyatt said feedback he had received from DAA staff showed there was a problem internally with the culture.

Be Careful What you Ask for in a Job Ad

An employer has posted an advertisement on Gumtree Melbourne seeking an insulation installer to join his team. The advertisement stated, “you will need a good work attitude, steel capped boots and be of Australian descent and appearance as we are marketed as an Australian-owned and family-run company.” Despite the ad’s stipulation, the advertiser, Michael, said everyone would get a fair go and he had applicants who had moved to Australia a few years that were on his short list because they had “great credentials.” Human Rights Law Centre’s Hugh de Kretser stated the ad was “morally wrong, legally wrong and [there was] no justification for it. […] What Michael was talking about is on its face very clear racial discrimination, it’s unlawful, it shouldn’t be going on.”

Extensive Bullying Amongst Australian Surgeons
A study published in the World Journal of Surgery has found that workplace bullying remains a problem within general surgery in Australia. Of the 370 trainees and consultant surgeons surveyed, nearly half (47%) reported having been bullied to some degree. Over two thirds (68%) of trainees and consultants had witnessed the bullying of other surgical colleagues in the preceding 12 months. Of those who reported being bullied, only 18% made a formal complaint.

Respondents were asked to say whether they had been exposed to 22 specified “negative acts” and to rate the frequency of occurrence. The majority of respondents (83%) had experienced one or more negative behaviours in the past 12 months. Thirty eight per cent had experienced one or more negative behaviours on a weekly or daily basis. The most common negative behaviours reported were “having opinions ignored” and “being exposed to unmanageable workload.”