What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 2 – 8 October 2017

OECD Report Highlights Plight of Women in Work
According to a new OECD report, women who work full-time are earning 87c to every dollar earned by men. The Pursuit of Gender Equality: An Uphill Battle observed gender imbalances across OECD nations and found Australia to be a “mid-range performer” across the indicators. The results showed women were less likely to have paid work, be entrepreneurs, and were under-represented in leadership across public and private sectors, despite having more years of schooling than men. The burden on women to provide unpaid childcare, in addition to the comparatively high childcare costs, were considered major barriers to women’s career advancement. In order to remedy this, the report recommends addressing employer discrimination, and providing working mothers and fathers with longer paid parental leave, and more affordable and accessible childcare. Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and G20 Sherpa, said that the “pursuit of gender equality must be a priority to achieve sustainable, inclusive growth for the benefit of every citizen”.

Channel Nine Worker Accused of Anti-Semitic Remarks
A former Channel Nine reporter claims to have been the victim of anti-Semitic harassment. Caroline Marcus alleges that while working on A Current Affair in 2014, her colleague, Ben McCormack, acted in a “brazen[ly]” anti-Semitic manner. According to Ms Marcus, he displayed cartoons “depicting Jews as Hitler” around his station, and told her, “Your 70 years of special treatment are over” in a reference to the Holocaust. During mediation, Ms Marcus had confided in him that her family had survived Nazi rule while living in Eastern Europe. In a separate turn of events, Mr McCormack has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges.

Bis Industries Worker Not Unfairly Dismissed in Light of Workplace Harassment
The Fair Work Commission has found that a Bis Industries employee, accused of workplace harassment, was not unfairly dismissed (in the case of Kym Larcombe v Bis Industries [2017] FWC 3764). Mr Larcombe claimed that two co-workers – Ms Buhlmann and Mr Savaidis – wrongly accused him of defacing a poster that featured Ms Buhlmann’s face. Against advice from other workers, Mr Larcombe met privately with Ms Buhlmann to confront her over the accusations. He refused to leave even after she started to cry and repeatedly told him to, “f*** off”. She says that in doing so, he intimidated and harassed her as well as Mr Savaidis, who had come to her defence. It is alleged that Mr Larcombe yelled to Mr Savaidis, “If you want a go, come over here”, in an invitation to fight. Mr Larcombe denied the accusations of harassment. However, in considering that he was older and larger than Ms Buhlmann, and had formerly been her superior, the Commission held that he did harass and/or intimate her. This and his intimidation of Mr Savaidis also constituted a breach of the Bis Industries Workplace Bullying and Harassment Standard.