What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 3 – 9 January 2022

Victoria Mandating Gender Quotas on Construction Industry Is A ‘Good Start’

Victoria is implementing a mandatory quota that will ensure that women make up at least 35 per cent of management roles in government projects. The decision has been welcomed by organisations that advocate for gender equality. Notably, the Chair of the National Association of Women in Construction said that this mandate is a “good start” despite being a “baby step”. The total percentage of women in construction management roles currently sits at 15 per cent nationally.

James Hardie’s CEO Sacking Highlights Falling Tolerance for Workplace Bullies

The board of building materials company, James Hardie Industries, made the decision to dismiss its CEO for bullying. The former CEO, Jack Truong, had been employed as CEO of the company for three years. His firing has caused a $1 billion decline in the company’s market value. James Hardie has revealed that Mr Truong’s behaviour was not discriminatory in nature. Rather, many employees reported that he was disrespectful, using fear and intimidation against workers. Mr Truong was deemed to be in breach of James Hardie’s code of conduct. The decision by the board came after an independent investigation was conducted looking into the behaviour of Mr Truong. The decision has come as a surprise to the former CEO, who denies the allegations of bullying.

‘A Problem with Women’: CSL Hit with Gender Discrimination Claim

The Australian company CSL Behring is facing charges in the USA for gender discrimination. It is alleged that the company terminated the contract of a senior female worker following an incident when the human resources department asked her whether she thought CSL Behring “[had] a problem with women”. Julia Grant, the complainant, was formerly the director of US healthcare policy and federal relations. CSL Behring is a prominent player in the pharma industry, specialising in blood. The company has referred to the claims as “baseless”. Ms Grant has spoken out about witnessing women be belittled, spoken over and sidelined at CSL Behring. Ms Grant has also revealed details of sexism in conference calls with female colleagues. This included her being excluded from a significant call in October 2020 regarding plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients. Ms Grant is jointly suing for age discrimination as her replacement was 10 years her junior.

Politicians Complete Respectful Workplace Training

This week, federal parliamentarians engaged in respectful workplace training that educated on sexual harassment. Pauline Hanson refused to attend. The training had been mandated by the Prime Minister in 2021, when the training was first announced. Ms Hanson received criticism for her lack of understanding on matters of sexual harassment and assault in the wake of rape allegations made by Brittany Higgins. Hanson had alleged that Ms Higgins was “demonising men” for coming forward with her claim against fellow Liberal staffer. Ms Hanson also played into a harmful stereotype by criticising Ms Higgins for not reporting her alleged rape earlier. Ms Hanson’s refusal to attend the training has sparked an important conversation about how sexual harassment continues irrespective of a person’s age. Ms Hanson is one of 10 senators yet to declare their completion of the mandatory training on the public register.

Jamie Mitchell To Send List of Questions to Cricket Australia After Abuse Allegations Surface

Recent allegations have revealed that in 1985, Jamie Mitchell was raped on the under-19s tour of India and Sri Lanka. Mr Mitchell has revealed he is “relieved” that these allegations of abuse were made in the ABC Sport report. The tour caused Mr Mitchell great “trauma and distress” and he is looking for answers as to how the abuse was able to happen. Mr Mitchell’s main concern is for the welfare of all players and getting answers for what happened to him. His lawyers said that their client hopes for a “comprehensive response” from Cricket Australia. In Response, the chief executive Nick Hockley has expressed the organisation’s commitment to protecting players and staff. Mr Hockley also acknowledged survivors of abuse and commended their courage.