What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 8–14 May 2017?

Qld Policewoman Says Culture of Bullying and Sexual Harassment
A former Gold Coast policewoman has revealed that the culture of the Queensland Police Service is one of bullying, intimidation and sexual harassment. The former policewoman has alleged that she was degraded, mocked and sexually harassed for a year before she lodged an official complaint. The former policewoman claims that she received comments like “get me a cup of tea, wench” or “you should be home in the kitchen.” Last year, the policewoman took medical retirement from her 20-year career.

QLD Police Bullying Allegation by Union
The Queensland Police Service may be the subject of a workplace bullying investigation after the Police Union lodged a formal complaint with the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Age a Factor in Employment Decisions
Hays has surveyed 1352 employers to investigate whether age is a factor when employers hire, promote or reward employees. Of the employers surveyed, only 29% reported that age had no impact on talent management decisions including development programs, promotional pathways and succession plans. Seventy-one per cent of employers reported that the age of an employee may be a factor in talent management decisions, with 12% reporting that age will “always” impact a decision, and 59% reporting that age is “sometimes” a factor. This data supports research undertaken by the University of South Australia.

Bullying in Ipswich Hospital
A nurse at Ipswich Hospital has reported that bullying, intimidation and threats between staff are widespread within the mental health unit. West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, which is responsible for Ipswich Hospital, has confirmed that five formal complaints relating to bullying and harassment within the Adult Mental Health Unit have been lodged since September. Four of these claims have been finalised. A spokesperson for West Moreton Hospital and Health Service has stated that they “are working with staff to improve the workplace culture and the working environment in the Adult Mental Health Unit [through] improving the physical workplace for staff and consumers, encouraging staff engaged and promoting staff development.”

NZ Countdown Supermarket Implements Transgender Transitioning Policy
New Zealand’s Countdown supermarket chain has announced a transgender transitioning policy, which is aimed at supporting transitioning team members. The policy provides that transgender team members are entitled to use a bathroom that matches their gender identity, decide when they wish to be referred to by new pronouns and adopt a workplace dress code matching their gender identity, at a time that’s right for them. Under the policy, transitioning employees are also entitled to use any leave entitlements including sick leave, for the purposes of undergoing medical treatments whilst transitioning, without having to disclose personal medical details. The transgender transitioning policy also provides team members with free access to a nationwide confidential counselling and support service. As part of the introduction of this policy, Countdown is also working with managers to educate team members about the gender transition process.

Mental Stress WC Claims Cost $345,000 per Claim
Mental health claims from federal public servants and Commonwealth workers have exceeded $74 million over the past year. In the 2015-2016 financial year, 215 claims of workers’ compensation claims for “mental stress” were accepted. While the number of mental health claims is decreasing, the cost of each individual claim has increased in the 2015-2016 period. The average cost of a public sector worker’s compensation claim for “mental stress” is $345,000. A successful claimant will be paid their full salary for the first 45 weeks off work and then 75% of their salary (plus medical and pharmacological expenses) until their return to work or retirement. The predominant cause of workplace compensation claims is workplace bullying and harassment. In 2015-2016, 38% of claims for mental stress were due to workplace bullying and harassment, while 31% were due to “work pressure.”