What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 3 – 10 August 2015

Unfair dismissal claims cost employers on average $13,500. Would it be better to introduce a “no-fault” dismissal system whereby no blame is laid and an employer makes some sort of compensation payout to its dismissed employee? While the Productivity Commission report flagged this as a possible option they ultimately said it may give employees a greater incentive to lodge vexatious claims amongst other problems and there are more flaws than benefits to this system.

Ms Broderick has said this week that too many men pretend they don’t have family responsibilities while they are at work and this has created a distorted “ideal worker model, someone who was available 24/7 without any visible caring responsibilities.” She said that the benefits of men making their family or caring responsibilities visible to their employees at work reverberate throughout a workplace. She also said that men need to pick up a few more chores around the house to improve the nation’s workplaces. Ms Broderick said in order to achieve gender equality there must be better sharing of paid and unpaid work between men and women thereby creating the space for women to also pursue their career.

A small real estate agency has been ordered to keep a property manager away from 2 other employees after the FWC found the manager bullied the staff members. The agency must also develop and implement anti-bullying policies. The workers told the Commission the manager threatened them with violence and belittled them, as well as yelling and swearing at them. The manager was also accused of interfering and undermining the employees’ work and using physical intimidation. The manager subsequently resigned but then took a position with a related company where there was potential for interaction between the two businesses. And was actually seconded back to the original company. The employer accepted that a finding could be made that bullying had occurred.

This case and the ineffective use of the bullying laws in the Fair Work Act really annoy me. The FW Commission has no real guts to help a victim- no ability to order compensation or discipline the employee. I am also annoyed because what kind of employer wants the person who was accepted to be a bully work for them? It looks like a case where those who have made a complaint have lost out.

Ms Bowker launched a claim of bullying against her employer DP World and the MUA in the first bullying claim before the Fair Work Commission against a union. She has accused the MUA of overseeing a reign of terror at her former workplace. She alleges workers were terrified to report abuse that centred in a female wharfie’s changing room. Ms Bowker says she has had her work boots and overalls urinated on, a photo of her on her locker defaced and that she was called a “f*cking dog.” She believes that DP World is powerless to protect its workers against union thugs and that since she went on leave the bullying had only gotten worse. The hearing is expected to conclude on Thursday and the outcome for Ms Bowker and the MUA could be huge.

Don’t let your workplace be the victim of bullying. Contact Franca at EEO Specialists on (08)6102 4411 to work out what you can do to minimise the possibility of workplace bullying contaminating your workplace.