What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 21 October 2019 – 27 October 2019

Ernst and Young Previous Training Encouraged Specific Grooming Requirements and Perpetuation of Stereotypes for Women Employees
‘Big four’ accounting firm, Ernst & Young, allegedly advised its female employees to look ‘fit’ and ‘not to address men face-to-face’. HuffPost reporter, Emily Peck, obtained a 55-page EY presentation55-page EY presentation55-page EY presentation known as the EY Power-Presence-Purpose training seminar. The presentation was rife with negative stereotypes that women were not ‘ambitious, shouldn’t challenge their male colleagues, and must not dress provocatively.’ HuffPost also revealed that the presentation encouraged female employees to ‘signal fitness and wellness by getting manicures and wearing flattering clothing – yet were told not to “flaunt their body.’ Similarly, women were advised to sit cross-legged and not to make face-to-face contact with men at work. The presentation also implied that women ramble and ‘miss the point’ when they communicate and ‘think men hog air-time.’ EY told HuffPost it no longer used that version of the presentation and stated that the training was hosted by an ‘external vendor.’ However, the controversial presentation comes shortly after EY faced two sexual-harassment complaints.

Reality TV Contestant Treated Like Employee in Bullying Claim Against Channel 7
A former contestant on Australia’s reality television show, House Rulesformer contestant on Australia’s reality television show, House Rulesformer contestant on Australia’s reality television show, House Rules, has won a landmark compensation case (in the case of Prince v Seven NetworkPrince v Seven NetworkPrince v Seven Network (Operations) Limited [2019] NSWWCC 313) against Channel Seven for psychological injury incurred while filming the show. Nicole Prince, a former contestant on the hit renovation program, said in her statement of claim to the New South Wales Compensation Commission that she endured ‘isolation, bullying and harassment’ from Channel Seven managers. ‘I feel devastated and worthless about the loss of my career and working life,’ Prince said about the experience in a public statement. ‘After my episode aired I wanted to kill myself and I started drinking more alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate my injury’, she added. In her statement of claim, Prince told the commission that she and her friend Fiona Taylor had been instructed by the show’s producers to be more critical of other contestants and had subsequently been ‘harassed and bullied’ by the other contestants on the show. She said that the bullying was ‘not only condoned by the producer, but it was aggravated, even encouraged, by them’. The network’s insurer later denied Prince’s workers compensation claim on the basis that she was ‘not a worker’. However, in a landmark decision just recently handed down, the Commission awarded compensation for psychological injury after finding that Prince was legally an employee of Channel Seven. ‘The respondent’s primary contention was there was no service which Channel Seven required of the applicant,’ commission arbitrator Cameron Burge wrote in his judgement. While the contract stated that appearing on the program ‘does not create an employer/employee relationship between Seven and you’, Commissioner Burge found in favour of Prince. Burge reasoned that Seven had ‘derived benefit from the applicant giving her time and engaging in the home renovations for the television show’ and that Seven would ‘derive benefit’ from their participation because of the advertising revenue associated with its screening. Commissioner Burge also noted the rate of remuneration – $500 per week plus a $500 allowance during filming – for Seven’s ‘exclusive use of the applicant for every hour of every day during which the show was being filmed’. This factor, in addition to its power to ‘veto the applicant wearing certain clothes’ further supported the existence of a relationship of employer-employee. The decision is set to have widespread ramifications for the responsibility broadcasters and production companies have to reality show contestants. Compensation is yet to be awarded.

Construction Workers at Higher Risk of Mental Health Injuries at Work
While in Australia, tradespeople and construction workers make up less than one-third of all people in employment, those industries represent 58% of serious workers’ compensation claims. Indeed, construction ranks in the top three for industries with the highest work-related injury or illness. And while this figure includes physical injuries, research shows that workers in construction are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems than workers in other professionsworkers in construction are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems than workers in other professionsworkers in construction are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems than workers in other professions. The research by Black Dog Instituteresearch by Black Dog Instituteresearch by Black Dog Institute, postulates that this is partly due to mentalities and entrenched attitudes. In construction culture, ‘workers are expected to be tough and self-reliant.’ This becomes a mental health hazard in light of ‘the problems of bullying and hazing on work sites.’ Victims can be left feeling isolated, increasing their risk of burnout, depression and suicidal thoughts. This was notable in the high profile suicide case of apprentice Alec Meikle in Bathurst.