An Adelaide construction supervisor has been prosecuted for bullying under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) in the case of Campbell v Chenoweth  SAET 181 case of Campbell v Chenoweth  SAET 181 case of Campbell v Chenoweth  SAET 181 (28 August 2019) . Luke Daniel Chenoweth faced the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) after he doused a fellow employee’s boot with flammable liquid and set it alightdoused a fellow employee’s boot with flammable liquid and set it alightdoused a fellow employee’s boot with flammable liquid and set it alight. Last week, the Tribunal handed down a $21,000 fine to Mr Chenoweth’s for his involvement in the incident. Martyn Campbell, the prosecutor in this case, said the $21,000 penalty was appropriate and sent a strong message to the industry about behaviours that should not be tolerated.
John Moncrieff has been fined over $116,000 for operating his security company with an ‘entrenched’ culture of bullying. Moncrieff appeared in the Broadmeadows Magistrates Court last week after pleading guilty to the charge of failing to maintain a safe workplace. WorkSafe inspectors found that employees of Mr Moncrieff’s business were subject to negligent and abusive behavioursubject to negligent and abusive behavioursubject to negligent and abusive behaviour. This included female employees being branded ‘dumb f***ing lesbians’, security staff being called ‘dumb babies’ and others being labelled ‘skanks’, ‘sluts’ and ‘bitches’. The court also heard that Mr Moncrieff told employees they could either ‘fit in or f*** off’. The bullying reportedly left Moncrieff’s employees with deep psychological damage, including cases of ‘clinically diagnosed depression, PTSD, sleep disturbance, sickness and nightmares’. An employee who had been subjected to these abuses said in her victim impact statement that ‘what I’ve endured no one should endure,’. In a letter published by The Age, Mr Moncrieff issued an apology to his staff members. He wrote: ‘I am deeply sorry. This episode has caused me to fundamentally reassess how to deal with staff supportively and sensitively’.
Attorney-General Christian Porter has released the first draft of the Government’s proposed religious discrimination laws. The draft legislation indicates that Australians could face six months in jail or fines of up to $6300 if found guilty of religious discrimination. The proposed laws would also ban employers from silencing staff’s religious beliefs outside of workproposed laws would also ban employers from silencing staff’s religious beliefs outside of workproposed laws would also ban employers from silencing staff’s religious beliefs outside of work. The legislation would afford protection for religious expression to the extent that the beliefs aren’t ‘malicious’ or enable ‘hate speech, harassment and vilification’. While laws are a direct response to the recent Israel Folau controversy, there is no indication the draft legislation would have protected the Wallabies star from his dismissal.
In defending the draft, Christian Porter described the legislation ‘as a “shield” approach rather than a positive rights or “sword” approach’. Despite the Attorney-General’s analogy, Equality Australia has slammed the bill, saying it ‘hands a sword to people of faith to use their religious beliefs to attack others in our community’. The draft legislation, which is available online for public consultation, is open for submissions under 2nd October.
The annual Australian Public Service Employee Censusannual Australian Public Service Employee Censusannual Australian Public Service Employee Census has revealed that the Department of Home Affairs is suffering from ‘low morale, poor engagement and high levels of bullying and harassment’. The census, which surveyed almost 10,000 employees across all 97 agencies, found that the Department had the lowest staff engagement and the fourth lowest employee wellbeing across all agencies in the public service. Almost 20% of respondents within the department reported having experienced discrimination based on their background or personal characteristics. The census also found higher rates of bullying and harassment, with 17% reporting verbal abuse, sabotage or interference. Only half of the department’s employees considered their managers to be of high quality. This snapshot of unhappiness correlates with high rates of employees wanting to leave, with almost 40% of those surveyed – about 3,500 people – admitting they had applied for a job outside the department in the past 12 months. Labor’s shadow home affairs minister, Kristina Keneally, said the census shed light on ‘the climate of harassment, bullying, poor communication, substandard leadership and lacking resources [within] Peter Dutton’s department’. ‘It is clear that this poisonous culture is resulting in poor outcomes’, she added.