What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 27 June – 3 July 2016

Workplace Bullying Leads to Suicide
Brendan Walsh, a Woolworths’ employee committed suicide in December 2013 after sustained workplace bullying. A male colleague of Mr Walsh was sentenced to six months behind bars after being charged last December with bullying two other colleagues at the same store. Prosecutors claimed the case against him for bullying Mr Walsh, who was the manager of his store’s shelf-stacking team, was dropped because the victim was not alive to testify. Mr Walsh’s wife has since called on the Coroner’s Court for an inquest into the death of her husband on the basis he was “subjected to sustained workplace bullying without any meaningful intervention.”

South Australian Law Reform Proposing to Restrict Religious Bodies
The South Australian Law Reform Institute has proposed changes to laws relating to religious organisations to protect students, employees and patients from being discriminated against. Currently there is a blanket exemption granted to religious organisations that discriminate against people on the grounds of sexuality, gender or religious beliefs. The proposed reforms would restrict “legal” discrimination to the grounds of religious beliefs and require organisations to prove their decision to discriminate was not “harsh or unreasonable.” SA Law Reform Institute director Professor John Williams noted that although “families have the right to bring up and educate their children in accordance with their beliefs and values … this needn’t give the green light to unfair treatment … of employees in schools.” Professor Williams said these recommendations make “it clear that discrimination against students and employees on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity is unlawful, while at the same time allowing religious schools to implement reasonable and public policies to employ people who share their religious beliefs.”

Overseas Doctor Discriminated Against Due to Where he Studied
The ACT government has been ordered to pay Dr Qinglin Wang $40 000 after it discriminated against him on the basis of race. Dr Wang was denied an internship at the Canberra Hospital, without which he could not practise medicine in Australia. Dr Wang successfully argued that a policy that ranked intern applicants according to the location of their university (automatically ranking international graduates last) discriminated against Dr Wang either directly or indirectly.