What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 6 – 12 June 2022

Legal Aid NSW Responds to Allegations Of Racism

On 7 June, a 7.30 investigation revealed that multiple lawyers and former employees have accused Legal Aid NSW of racism. In the last 6 years, at least 23 employees from culturally diverse backgrounds have resigned. 7.30 spoke to over 20 current and former employees from Indigenous and culturally diverse backgrounds. The main concern from the staff is that racism is having a profound effect on their mental health and career prospects. Legal Aid is the largest government funded justice service. Legal Aid has responded to the claims emphasising that it does not condone racism and takes these allegations seriously. In a statement, the organisation stated that “the cultural, physical and psychological safety of our staff and clients is of paramount importance. Racism in any form is harmful and unacceptable.”

ANZ Introduces Paid Gender Affirmation Leave. What Is It and What Other Types of Leave Are There?

ANZ has joined other big Australian companies in introducing paid gender affirmation leave. ANZ will now allow its employees to take up to six weeks of paid leave and a year of unpaid leave to undergo gender affirmation. This may include medical, legal or social gender affirmation processes. Examples of medical affirmation include surgery, hormone therapy, or recovery in transitioning from one gender to another. Social affirmation may include changing pronouns and name, and change of presentation. Legal includes changing personal identification documents. The leave will be available to employees based in Australia and New Zealand. This new initiative comes shortly after Coles announced it will be allowing its employees to have up to 10 days paid gender affirmation leave.
Other types of leave include leave related to experiencing family or domestic violence, compassionate and bereavement leave, community service leave,

Woman Told By iCare Her Sexual Assault Allegation Was ‘Implausible’

The NSW state government insurer iCare has allegedly told a woman who claimed to be sexually assaulted at work that her story was “implausible”. Her compensation claim for psychological injury was rejected by reasoning that it was not a workplace issue. The woman was employed at an accounting firm. At a social drinking event for the firm’s birthday, she was assaulted by a male manager in a work storeroom. She claims to have been taken to the office to discuss work related matters. The woman was then admitted to hospital with PTSD symptoms. The claim is now subject to an appeal that has been received by the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office.

Former One Nation Electorate Officer Tells Court of Regular Sexual Harassment By Ex-Senator Brian Burston

The defamation trial has commenced which regarded allegations against former One Nation senator Brian Burston for sexual harassment. Pauline Hanson has given evidence to the court in her first public appearance since the election. She is being sued for defamation. Ms Hanson supported Terri-lea Vairy when she accused Mr Burston of sexual harrassment while she was employed as his electorate officer. Ms Vairy was first employed by Mr Burston as a cleaner before being offered the role of electorate officer. The allegations are that he confessed his love to her and also made sexualised comments towards her. The ex-senator has denied all accusations. The trial is still ongoing.