What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 6 – 12 June 2016

CFO of Colliers Sued for Workplace Sexual Harassment

Sean Unwin, the Chief Financial Officer of Colliers International is being sued by his former executive assistant for sexual harassment. Mrs Marks has alleged several instances of sexual harassment including: Mr Unwin attempting to force her head into his crotch, Mr Unwin removing his clothes in Ms Marks’ presence in a small office without any warning in order to get into a party costume and Mr Unwin offering for Ms Marks to have sex with a person in the office if she wished to do so. There are also allegations of Mr Unwin making comments that Ms Marks should re-grow her hair, as that was what he wanted; and criticizing Ms Marks for wearing a “nana shawl” by telling her to “Get that s*** off and stop covering yourself up.” Ms Marks said she did not report the harassment to Colliers’ HR department because she had seen it repeatedly fail to deal with sensitive information properly.

Disgraceful Bullying Behaviour Inflicted on Apprentice
The Geelong Magistrate’s Court has found that a bullying apprentice has been subject to “appalling” bullying and physical abuse from his boss and colleagues, leading to severe emotional trauma. The abuse included the apprentice being forced to swallow methylated spirits, having hot drill bits held to his skin, and having sandpaper scraped on his face. The apprentice’s manager, Wayne Allan Dennert, also took the apprentice’s phone and posted sexually explicit comments on a social media page. Other instances of bullying included the apprentice’s co-workers placing a live mouse in the apprentice’s shirt, spraying liquid nails in his hair, spitting on him and holding him down whilst others painted on his face. The bullying was “encouraged” and “actively participated in” by Mr Dennert. The apprentice said he continued to suffer anxiety, depression, nightmares and insomnia as a result of the bullying. Mr Dennert pleaded guilty to workplace safety violations, and was convicted and fined $12,500.

The behaviour outlined was horrific and I am surprised at the small fine imposed. I also question why the Victorian Police did not charge Mr Dennert with the criminal offence of bullying which is legislated for only in Victoria.