What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 29 August – 4 September 2016

Westpac Settles Racial Discrimination Claim
The Federal Court proceedings between Vikram Chopra and Kristen Greber have been settled with the consent of both parties. Mr Chopra had lodged a claim against Westpac bank for $1 million in the Federal Circuit Court after his regional manager allegedly told him that her rich clients would not want to work with another Indian banker. Vikram Chopra was promoted to the position of executive financial direction in 2012, replacing another colleague who was of Indian descent. Westpac then overturned this decision. In 2014 Mr Chopra’s boss, Kristen Greber told Mr Chopra that he should not manage some of her clients because her clients did not want to meet with “another Indian planner,” and these clients felt that they could “say and do whatever they want.” Mr Chopra sued for $900,000 in lost earnings and $40,000 for emotional pain and suffering. An internal investigation by Westpac found Ms Greber had made racially discriminatory comments. Ms Greber was issued with a formal warning and asked to apologise.

Skilling up Junior Doctors to Tackle Workplace Bullying
The University of Sydney, supported by the Australian Medical Association, is running a series of workshops for medical students and junior doctors. The scheme Grace Under Pressure – combines the university’s expertise in the medical and theatre-media fields. The workshops involve students being taught skills including visualisation, trust exercises, and voice projection and expression. Workshop facilitator Paul Dwyer has said that these theatre and acting-based skills could help the younger generation of doctors to become the change they wanted to see and to counteract a culture of bullying and harassment. Indeed, research by the University of Sydney indicated that 87% of students would witness or experience bullying or harassment in their medical education.

Workplace Bullying Guides Updated by Safe Work Australia
Safe Work Australia has updated two publications on workplace bullying. The Guide for Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying is intended to provide employers and managers with information on how to manage the risks of workplace bullying, as part of meeting their duties under work health and safety laws. Dealing with Workplace Bullying – A Worker’s Guide is intended to help workers who may be experiencing or witnessing workplace bullying and also those who have had a bullying report made against them.