What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 24 – 30 January 2022

Football Australia Fines Melbourne Victory $5000 For Slurs Directed at Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo

Melbourne Victory has been fined $5000 over an incident where Victory fans directed homophobic slurs at Adelaide United’s player, Josh Cavallo. Melbourne Victory was deemed to be in breach of Football Australia’s National Code of Conduct and Ethics. Football Australia reiterated that all incidents are considered on a case-by-case basis. The club’s quick response and public denouncing of the incident worked in its favour. Melbourne Victory has since publicly expressed its commitment to supporting the LGBT+ community and spreading awareness on inclusivity. The fine is proof that soccer clubs remain responsible for their fans.

Principal Accused of Sexual Harassment To Face Tribunal

The Victorian Legal Service Board has investigated a sexual harassment and bullying claim made against principal Nickita Knight. The claims were made by a female solicitor who was employed by Mr Knight. The bullying and sexual harassment included an incident where Mr Knight posted an advertisement for prostitution services using the employee’s details. Mr Knight lied “deliberately” during the investigation, alleging that the advertisement was posted from his phone without his knowledge. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s senior member Elisabeth Wentworth noted that the conduct indicated an “absence of those moral qualities and rectitude of character referred to in the case law as constituting ‘fit and proper’.” The former employee obtained an intervention order which Mr Knight later breached. Mr Knight has admitted to a history of sexually harassing other female employees. The Tribunal has determined that public interest trumps Mr Knight’s private interests when considering the matter.

NSW Treasury Head to Quit Public Service

Michael Pratt, the NSW Treasury Secretary, has announced his resignation from the public service. This announcement comes shortly after he was accused of bullying by a KPMG consultant who had worked with the NSW government on the Transport Asset Holding Entity (TAHE) matter. The incident became subject of a parliamentary inquiry into TAHE. Despite this, Mr Pratt has been praised for his contribution to the public service, including his response to COVID-19 and the global financial crisis.

Repeated Instances of Unreasonable Behaviour Do Not Necessarily Constitute Workplace Bullying

The court has recently confirmed that workplace bullying requires more than the discovery that unreasonable behaviour has occurred more than once. The case concerned Mr Greenall. He was employed by the State of Queensland as a handler of service dogs. Mr Greenall claimed he was bullied by his manager in 17 separate incidents. Of these 17, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission determined three of these incidents to be unreasonable. Under the Queensland legislation, an order to stop bullying can be granted if there is a risk that the employee will continue to be bullied in the workplace. While the Commission acknowledged the behaviour was repeated, it was not serious enough to constitute bullying. As such, Mr Greenall’s appeal was dismissed.