What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 26 March – 1 April 2017

University Academic Resigns in Face of Sexual Assault Allegation
A senior academic at the University of Queensland has resigned a day before he was to formally respond to an allegation of sexual assault. A female colleague alleged that he had sexually assaulted her on a work trip in 2017. The university suspended him on the same day as the complaint was made and commenced a comprehensive investigation. However, his resignation prevents the university from being able to make a formal finding of serious misconduct. The vice-chancellor, Professor Peter Hoj, said that, “UQ has supported the complainant throughout the process, and their wellbeing and privacy are our primary concerns”.

Gay Employee Discriminated against and Sexually Harassed by Manager
A former worker at Barkers Fresh Produce has lodged a complaint of sexual harassment and discrimination through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Timothy Bye claims that his new manager began harassing him after he began working in the accounts department. Mr Bye, an openly gay man, says that the manager would greet him and his female colleagues with “good morning ladies” but individually greet and shake the hands of the other male co-workers. According to a co-worker’s witness statement, the manager claimed to be “against faggots…[who]… do not deserve to live”. Despite making a formal complaint to the then chief executive, no disciplinary action was taken. Mr Bye took three weeks’ worth of annual leave in 2017 due to the distress and humiliation occasioned by the harassment. On returning to work, he found his responsibilities had been assigned to a temp worker, and that he had been “effectively demoted”. Barkers Fresh claims that Mr Bye’s employment was terminated because he spent too much time on his phone during work hours and was therefore unproductive. Mr Bye is seeking compensation for suffering and humiliation, as well as a written apology. His matter will be heard in May 2018.