What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 24 – 31 October 2022

Sydney University sued by lecturer alleging age, sex and disability discrimination

Geoffrey Fripp, a marketing lecturer at the University of Sydney, has commenced an action at the Federal Court for discrimination. Mr Fripp claims he was discriminated on the basis of age, sex and disability in breach of employment law. He is pursuing $526,000 in damages. The claim is made against the university and his supervisor, Mr Mitchell, who refused flexible changes to the workplace, reduced Mr Fripp’s hours and hired young staff while failing to promote Mr Fripp. He claims that the university said he was too old to be promoted and favoured younger staff. He began working at the university in 2002.

Structural Change the Key To Women’s Safety In The Workplace And At Home

In response to the introduction of family and domestic violence [paid] leave, Australian Unions released an article on promoting safety in the workplace. The news was welcomed as the AU has campaigned for this leave for around a decade. The decision marks a move away from passive approaches to violence against women. Further, the federal budget led to $42.5 million being dedicated to implementing the Respect@Work recommendations.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Welcomes National Anti-Racism Strategy Funding

The federal budget has announced a $7.5 million fund to be used over the next 4 years to tackle racism in Australia. The money will be used to develop a national strategy that promotes racial equality in government, private and community sectors. The idea behind the National Anti-Racism Strategy was recommended by the Race Discrimination Commission in March 2021. The news of the federal budget decision has been welcomed by the Commissioner as a commitment to taking action in relation to racism. Commissioner Tan restated that the priority focus for the Commissions’ anti-racism work and initiatives is the lived experiences of First Nations people.

One Person’s Word Against Another. The Problem with Sexual Assault Cases.

This week the Sydney Morning Herald released an opinion piece on the way sexual assault trials involving high profile perpetrators are problematic. The piece centred on the ongoing trial for Bruce Lehrman, who was accused of sexual assault by Bethany Higgins, sparking review of parliamentary practices and attitudes towards women. The article notes the unique nature of sexual assault cases because there is usually no weapon, physical injuries, eyewitnesses and often a prior relationship between the victim and perpetrator. The legal system fails to cater to these cases because it can often be one person’s word against another. Therefore, it is also harder to combat myths and stigmas that exist towards sexual assault that come into the courtroom.