What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 25 September – 1 October 2017

Sydney Water Worker Lodges Complaint of Discrimination in Light of ‘Dirty’ Advertisement
A female employee at Sydney Water has lodged a complaint of sex discrimination and harassment against them. Reem Yelda agreed to have a photo of herself used in a ‘Safe Spine’ Campaign but felt “humiliated” when it was marketed under the phrase, ‘Feel great – lubricate!’ Having only seen the final posters after they had been distributed, Ms Yelda said, “I feel like I have been turned into the punchline of a dirty joke”. She has worked at the organisation for 12 years and noted that it is a “very male-dominated workplace”. Sydney Water maintains that the poster was a part of a “work, health and safety campaign” and was not of a sexual nature.

Seven Network Cadet’s Dismissal Attracts Questions of Unfairness
Details have emerged around Seven Network’s dismissal of a female cadet, following her complaint of sexual harassment. Amy Taeuber alleged that an older male reporter made “disparaging remarks” towards her and called her a lesbian. However, Seven Network maintains her suspension resulted from her bullying another cadet. Peter Fagan, the victim of her alleged bullying, had not, in fact, lodged a complaint. Instead it appears Seven trawled through Ms Taeuber’s emails to find mention of him. In her meeting with HR, Ms Taeuber requested evidence of her bullying, to which the HR representative responded, “OK, so how do we want to plan your exit, Amy?” Additionally, her support person was ordered to leave from this same meeting. When Ms Taeuber attempted to protest, the HR manager told her that, “I think we’ll just shut this down”. Seven Network denies she was dimissed because of her complaints and claims to be investigating any breach of her contract.

Independent Review Into Harassment and Discrimination in Victoria Police Completes Second Phase
The second phase of the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission’s independent review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment in the Victorian police force has been released. Taskforce Salus, established to look into sex offences by police, has investigated more than 100 cases of disciplinary sex offences, with 80 more still to be done. Three officers have so far been fired, and 23 more have resigned while in the process of being investigated. Furthermore, nine criminal and 20 disciplinary charges have been made. Mr Ashton, the Victorian Chief Commissioner, said that “we’re still seeing considerable resistance to change”, but acknowledged that the taskforce was “making an impact”. Additionally, he noted that it would “remain an ongoing necessity for as long as these behaviours continue within our ranks”. The majority of victims of these offences are either female officers or public servants. In light of the number of victims, there could be tens of millions of dollars’ worth of compensation.