What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 4 – 10 January 2016

Worker’s Compensation Claim for Bullying and Harassment not Granted
The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission has rejected a former Queensland ambulance call centre worker’s claim for compensation for injury suffered as a result of bullying and harassment in the workplace. Lynley Henderson claimed that during her employment at the Queensland Ambulance Service she was the victim of bullying and harassment. Ms Henderson nominated 30 stressors which caused her psychiatric injury including when her supervisor had called her a “f***ing lying c***” behind her back, and excessive monitoring by her supervisors in relation to meal breaks, toilet breaks and log on times. Commissioner Graeme Neate found that although five stressors were proved, these were not sufficient to cause Ms Henderson’s injury. Consequently Ms Henderson’s appeal was dismissed.

Complaints to Australian Human Rights Commission
Each year the Australian Human Rights Commission receives around 20,000 inquiries and 2388 complaints alleging breaches of human rights and anti-discrimination law. Around 20 per cent of the complaints arise under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, many of these complaints concerning incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace. A national survey conducted by the AHRC in 2012 revealed that 21% of employees over the age of 15 years had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace over the past 5 years.

Cricketer’s Actions in Interview Considered Inappropriate
Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland has not ruled out sanctions against West Indies cricket star Chris Gale following his controversial interview with Mel McLaughlin this week. Mr Gale had told Ms McLaughlin that he was there “just to see [her] eyes for the first time,” later stating “hopefully we can win this game and have a drink after.” Mr Sutherland has said that “these sort of comments border on harassment [and] are completely inappropriate in cricket and inappropriate in the workplace.” Mr Sutherland has not ruled out the possibility of imposing sanctions against Mr Gayle.

2015 Watershed for Gender Equity
Chief Executive Women president Diane Smith-Gander has said that 2015 has been a “watershed year” for women in corporate Australia, with greater awareness of the “need to have more gender equity.” Ms Smith-Gander believes that ideas in the corporate world regarding gender equity are continuing to shift including the recognition that quotas aren’t a “draconian tool” but may be employed as a thoughtful weapon in creating change. The Australian Institute of Company Directors chief executive James Brodgen has said that they may review their long held opposition to quotas in order to meet their target that ASX200 companies should have one third of their board members as women by the end of 2018.

School Principals under Attack
The 2015 Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey has revealed that on average, female principals experience 4% more threats of violence than men, and 10% more actual violence and bullying in the workplace. Male principals experience 10% more gossip and slander than their female colleagues.