What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 25 March 2019 – 31 March 2019

Professor of Career Education Speaks Out Against Workplace Racism
Jim Bright, Professor of Career Education and Development at Australian Catholic University (ACU), said that employees need to step up to stamp out racism in the workplace. In his personal column in WA Today, Bright said that “we cannot rely on employers to win the fight [against racism], although they must always lead”. Calling upon employees to champion to change, Bright said that there are two powerful roads to walk down. He said employees should either “call it out or report it”, or “if really disempowered, walk away from it and preferably enlist others in power to address it”. Bright’s most powerful message was that we need to be more “choosey” about our friends, and we should no longer tolerate casual racism within workplaces.
Surgeon Suspended Pending Investigations into Alleged Sexual Harassment

Dr William Braun has been suspended from Queensland Health and has voluntarily stood down from North West Private Hospital, pending investigations into alleged sexual misconduct. In 2017, a complaint was made to the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) requesting that Dr Braun be reported to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). The complaint detailed the extent of Dr Braun’s misconduct, which became so concerning that “no female trainees were being sent the Redcliffe hospital where [he] worked.” The surgeon’s misconduct came under the firing line again last month after the Queensland state opposition tabled numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against him. In a letter tabled to Parliament, one female trainee alleged that Dr Braun “would rub up against me from behind”. The woman also claimed Dr Braun told her she “would never make a successful, independently practising surgeon” as he “didn’t know of any such females that were successful”. In a separate incident in 2017, North West Private Hospital reprimanded Dr Braun after he allegedly made lewd comments to a Medical Supplies Representative. After arriving late to the operating list, Dr Braun allegedly told the Representative she could “repay” her tardiness “with sexual favours”. In addition to his recent suspension from Queensland Health, Dr Braun has also been suspended from all RAC-related educational and social activities.

Workplace Discrimination Rife for Working Mums
The Annual JustMums Recruitment Survey study has found that workplace discrimination is rife among working mums across Australia and New Zealand. The survey found that nearly 50% of working mums reported having experienced unfair treatment or discrimination at work. The discrimination often presented itself in the form of being overlooked for promotions, pay increases or bonuses. While the findings showed that discrimination was most common post-pregnancy, 14% of respondents reported having faced bullying or harassment during the course of their pregnancy

Court of Appeal Upholds That Farting is Not a Form of Workplace Bullying
The Victorian Court of Appeal (VSCA) held that flatulence is not a form of bullying within the workplace. David Hingst, a former employee at Construction Engineering, brought proceedings against his former supervisor, who he claimed had excessive flatulence. Hingst alleged that working alongside the supervisor caused him psychological injury and as a result, sought $1.8 million in lost future earnings. The VSCA resoundingly rejected Mr Hingst’s appeal and held that flatulence is not a form of workplace bullying. The engineer has since vowed to take the matter to the High Court.