What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 25 April – 1 May 2016

Workplace Bullying Trumps Good Work Culture
A recent New Zealand study has revealed “being passionate about your job and having great colleagues isn’t enough to lift the burden of having a bully in the office.” The study investigated whether having good resources – including autonomy at work, good social relationships with colleagues and a supportive supervisor – would offset the detriment of bullying. The study investigated four resources: (1) “psychological capital” or self-confidence, (2) hope and resilience, (3) “ethical leadership” from managers, and (4) wellbeing and the view that the person is valued and supported by their company.

What the results are saying is that if an employer does not address bullying behaviour, through having 3 key things in place-
1. Good policies and procedures in relation to inappropriate behaviours and complaint management
2. Regular training to all staff about what is appropriate and inappropriate behaviours
3. Regular training for managers on how to effectively and consistently manage complaints

Then all the time and money spent on motivating employees and creating a good vibe is wasted.

If you have a workplace bully and don’t know what to do about him/her then contact Franca at EEO Specialists on (08) 6102 4411.

Appointment of Disability Discrimination Commissioner Announced
The government has announced that it will appoint a full-time Disability Discrimination Commissioner to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, reversing a 2014 decision to abolish the role, which was absorbed into the age discrimination commissioner’s job.
It is understood the appointment will be announced next week.

The government has been facing pressure from advocates who argued disability-related complaints formed the Australian Human Rights Commission’s biggest caseload.

Australia Post Under Scrutiny Again for Racial Discrimination
An Aboriginal employee of Australia Post has alleged that he was subject to a long running campaign of racial harassment. The employee said that he become so frustrated by the harassment that he used his mobile phone to record a senior staffer who was responsible for the racist taunts. This recording allegedly captured that staffer saying that: “All black people should be hung up by the throat and shot, make sure they’re swinging so it’s harder to shoot them”. In addition, it is alleged that a manager was present at the time and did nothing about it and that the harassment had been going on for months (at least December 2015), but management had taken no action until late April 2016.

This is the second time Australia Post are under fire about racial harassment. In 2015 a Federal Court judge criticised Australia Post for failing to undertake an effective response to an incident where a Sri Lankan employer in Victoria in 2011 was called “a black bastard, a f—ing black bastard, told to go home to Sri Lanka by boat and subject to remarks equating his labour to slave labour.

The complaint raises some serious concerns about how effectively and quickly complaints are managed and the responsibility of managers to act when they have witnessed inappropriate behaviours.

To know more about how to manage complaints appropriately, you can call Franca on (08) 6102 4411. EEO Specialists are conducting their next public course for grievance officers on Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th May 2016.