Dr. Richard Robinson, a researcher at the University of Queensland, believes that ‘toxic kitchen culture’ is to blame for the predicted shortage of chefs in Australia by 2023. Of the apprentices interviewed by Dr. Robinson in Brisbane and Melbourne, 80 reported having experienced ‘sexual violence threats, bullying and intimidation tactics that led to “fearfulness” in their job.’ Dr. Robinson said that his findings pointed to a culture epidemic of poor treatment and that this was to blame for high staff turnover rates and apprentices leaving the industry. His research showed that the hospitality had one of the lowest retention rates across all industries. ‘What we’ve increasingly discovered through our research on mental health and well-being with chefs, is they are extremely vulnerable and threatened by this toxic kitchen culture,’ Dr. Robinson said. ‘The data is showing us that a chef leaves the industry about five years after getting their qualification and that’s a huge investment,’ he said. Dr. Robinson warned that ‘if you compound [this trend] with relentless harassment, it will continue to worsen.’ This is particularly worrisome for women in the industry, who make up less than 25 per cent of all chefs in Australia.
A former employee at the famous WA burger franchise, The Local Shack, has unearthed claims of harassment and bullying. During her time as a waitress at the burger joint, Emilee Sugars described shouting matches and stress-induced diets that were common-place among employees. Ms. Sugars is one of dozens of former employees who contributed to a WAtoday investigation into allegations of bullying and toxicity workplace at the restaurant chain. After resigning from The Local Shack, Ms. Sugars started a Facebook group calling on former and current employees to detail their own experiences at the restaurant. The group has since amassed more than 500 members. ‘Being abused, disrespected, sworn at, called names and yelled at was [common],’ Ms. Sugars said. ‘It got to the point where I had anxiety about going to work. I dreaded it … it’s a shame because it really could have been a great place to work,’ she added.
Annabel Crabb’s recently published essay entitled, ‘Men At Work – Australia’s Parenthood Trap,’ has generated debate over paid parental leave for dads. Crabb argues that ‘for true gender equity to be achieved, men must be allowed to leave the workplace just as freely that now, after decades of progress, women are allowed to enter it.’ As Emma Walsh noted, true equality between the genders cannot be achieved where men feel as though they will be discriminated against in the workplace for taking parental leave.
In a defence filed to the Federal Circuit Court on Friday, Rugby Australia indicated that its objection to Israel Folau’s posts was not their religious content but rather their tone and attributes. If successful, this argument could set a dangerous precedent for judging the tone of an employee’s social media post, rather than its substance. The submission attempts to fend off claims by Folau that his termination was unlawful under breach of s 772 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), which makes it illegal to terminate a person’s employment on the basis of their religion.