What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 30 July – 5 August 2018

Justified Performance Management Prevents Employee Appealing to Obtain a Stop Bullying Order
The Fair Work Commission has prevented an employee appealing to obtain an order to stop bullying. Miroslav Blagojevic has been employed by AGL Macquarie since 2006, and has worked under the supervision of Mitchell Seears since 2016. In March 2017 Mr Seears placed Mr Blagojevic on a performance improvement plan (PIP) and subsequently a revised PIP in June 2017, which Mr Blagojevic argued together constituted workplace bullying. To obtain the order to stop bullying, Mr Blagojevic had to demonstrate his reasonable belief of being bullied, and satisfy the commission of the same. Only the latter issue was in question. Mr Seears justified the PIP as being a reasonable management action (and thus not bullying) in response to Mr Blagojevic’s complacency, lack of leadership and poor understanding of budget control. This was, at first instance, held to be “evident and intelligible justification” for the PIP. On the current determination, the commissioner found that it was not in the public interest to grant permission to appeal, there not being any issue of general importance. Moreover, the commissioner held the first instance decision neither contained error nor was unjust. The commissioner reiterated that Mr Blagojevic’s failings constituted evident and intelligible justifications for the PIP, which was in turn deemed to be a reasonable management action carried out reasonably.

Report Shows No Cultural Diversity at the Top
A new report by the Sydney University Business School recommends that Australian businesses set diversity targets for senior ranking employees. In ‘Beyond the pale: Cultural diversity on ASX 100 Boards’, data revealed that nationally, board members are for the most part Anglo-Celtic men with “traditional male leadership traits”. Major barriers to progressive diversity included lack of contact with culturally diverse workers, recruiting from closed networks and biased recruitment and promotion procedures. Speaking at the report’s launch, the Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, argued that businesses were risk averse when it came to cultural diversity. However, he suggested that this and other barriers could be overcome with legislative change. In addition to setting targets akin to gender targets, the report recommends opening up networks and creating a pool of culturally diverse leaders.

New Migrant Centre to Support Worker’s Rights
The Victorian Trades Hall is set to open a centre to support migrants facing workplace challenges. The Migrant Workers Centre will cater to those working on temporary and permanent visas in sectors lacking formally organised unions, such as car washes and massage parlours. In addition to providing assistance to those who have been exploited, the centre will perform an educative purpose, training workers of their workplace rights. While not yet having been opened officially, it has already begun to receive complaints of workplace harassment and bullying, and well as cases of unfair dismissal and racial vilification. Director Matt Kunkel said that while organisations existed to cater to migrants’ general needs, this centre was unique in specifically targeting their industrial needs.

Female Politician Accused of Sexual Harassment and Bullying
EMMA Husar, a Sydney MP has been accused of sexual harassment and bullying.
In a letter dated May 17, numerous staff allege Ms Husar sexually harassed them and intentionally exposed herself in front of another politician.
The 20-page letter was sent by lawyer John Joseph Whelan, who was approached by a number of Ms Husar’s staff in regards to her alleged behaviour.
The letter, included one former employee claiming he witnessed Ms Husar perform a move made famous by actor Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.
The staffer alleged that on the night of June 19, 2017, while they were in fellow MP Jason Clare’s office, Ms Husar deliberately showed she wasn’t wearing underpants. Ms Husar and Mr Clare both deny this happened.
Other allegations include –
that Ms Husar bought some topless firefighter calendars and put them on their desks.
she asked them to unzip her dress on numerous occasions
and one particular employee claimed he was sexually harassed by Ms Husar twice, once when she “rubbed her body up against him”.
Ms Husar talking about who she wanted to have sex with.
The matters are currently under investigation.