What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 2 November 2020 – 8 November 2020

Bullying/Stress Claims for Health Professionals Related to COVID-19

Safe Work Australia has revealed that 533 teachers, nurses and public servants have claimed COVID-19 stress compensation, prompted by bullying, being overworked and anxiety.

Asian Australians Facing More Race Discrimination Since Covid-19

The Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research Methods and Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership (CAAL) has found Asian-Australians now face the highest levels of discrimination since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The study, which surveyed 3000 respondents, found that 84.5 per cent of Asian-Australians reported experiencing at least one instance of discrimination between January and October 2020. This marks an increase from 82 per cent during August 2019.

Allianz Insurer Says Rise in Bullying Claims Since Covid-19

Workplace insurance provider Allianz has found a rise in bullying and harassment claims during the Coronavirus pandemic. Director Maureen Kyne said ‘there has been an 80 per cent increase on mental stress claims in that last three year period, even before we started working from home.’ ‘Of that, they’ve related about 24 per cent in relation to bullying, 39 per cent to poor management, 33 per cent to culture and also around 26 per cent to organisational structure,’ she said. ‘If these are the statistics before we’ve even gone into the pandemic, there’s been a significant increase over and above that.’

Women in Science Experience Gender bias and Discrimination

A new report published by Professional Scientists Australia has painted a bleak picture of women in science. The report found that 40.9 per cent of female scientists reported experiencing gender bias or discrimination over the past three years. This includes being undermined in meetings, exclusion and bullying. Further, one in five women reported experiencing sexual harassment in their scientific careers.

SA Government Attempting to Balance Religious Freedom Laws and Protection for LGBTIQ+ People

The South Australian (SA) Marshall Government has welcomed public submissions on proposed reforms to the Equal Opportunity Act, aimed at reducing discrimination against members of the LGBTIQ+ community. Under the Equal Opportunity Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone based on their particular personal characteristics. SA Attorney-General Vickie Chapman hopes the reforms will better strike a balance between equality and religious freedom. ‘The current law allows some bodies established for religious purposes to discriminate on the basis of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or intersex status,’ Ms Chapman said. ‘While these freedoms are important, they need to be balanced against the rights of individuals to fairness and equality, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,’ she added.

Trainee Dr Experience or Witness Toxic Behaviour

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s (AHPRA) survey of 10,000 trainee doctors found that 33 per cent had experienced or witnessed toxic behaviour at work in the previous 12 months. This statistic was echoed in a recent survey of the Australian Medical Association NSW, which found similar rates of bullying among 1,332 doctors in training.

Extension Requested for Disability Royal Commission

Ronald Sackville AO QC, the chair of the disability Royal Commission, has asked for a 17-month extension, after the interim report noted ‘substantial interruptions’ due to COVID-19. The Royal Commission’s 561-page interim report, handed down on Friday, detailed how people with disability were experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation across all aspects of their lives.

WorkSafe Victoria Investigates Bullying Claims at Ambulance Victoria

This week, WorkSafe Victoria will begin to examine Ambulance Victoria, following widespread claims of bullying, sexual harassment and abuse within the service. A WorkSafe spokeswoman said the body is beginning to ‘make inquiries’ into claims affecting workers’ physical and mental health.