What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from18 – 24 January 2016

Leave Names off Job Applications to Avoid Bias
Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane has backed a proposal to leave names off job applications. Mr Soutphommasane noted that the proposal had merit within Australia because of the overt discrimination or unconscious bias suffered by job applicants from non-Anglo Saxon backgrounds. Similarly research demonstrates that leaving names off job applications supports female applicants.

Dominos Pizza and Social Media
A delivery driver at Dominos was allegedly forced to resign after he shared a Change.org petition on his Facebook page that claimed that Dominos is underpaying it workers. The employee believed he would be sacked from his position and emailed the regional manager to offer his resignation. The regional manager responded stating that his post was “in breach of the Domino’s Social Media policy which is grounds for termination.” The employee has been offered his position back.

In light of recent legal cases concerning social media Senior Associate Andrew Jewell has suggested that several factors should be taken into account before action is taken against an employee who has made comments on social media. These factors include: the nature of the comments, when they were made, who had access to view the comments, the extent to which an individual/company is identified in the comments, and the provisions of any company code of conduct or contract of employment.

Fair Work Claim Against Spotless Group for Bullying
Arvin Babajee, a former worker at Spotless Group has lodged a claim with Fair Work Australia alleging that his hours were unfairly cut by half after he complained about not having breaks. Mr Babajee stated that Spotless Group responded to complaints by dropping hours and using humiliation against employees. He said further “the managers are very hard to approach because everyone is scared of getting bullied. They have no respect for anyone and people are suffering.” Another employee also has a pending Fair Work Claim against Spotless Group. Other workers who elected to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation have supported the allegations of racial taunts, bullying and exploitation.

Female Muslim Navy Officer counselled
Captain Mona Shindy, a Senior Muslim navy officer has been counselled and had her Twitter account shut down after she tweeted controversial views concerning Islamic extremism and then prime minister Tony Abbott. Captain Shindy had used the twitter account as part of her outreach work to encourage Muslims to join the Defence Force. The controversial tweets included a re-tweet of a comment by counter-terrorism expert Anne Aly that read: “Wait. Did our new PM just give a speech and not mention boats, death cult, security, terrorism, national security and death cult?” A Defence spokesperson has stated that the account was shut down following a review that commenced in December, which aimed to consolidate the Navy’s social media platforms. However, a number of other Twitter accounts used by Navy personnel remain in operation.

Family Responsibilities Not Considered by Employer
The Fair Work Commission has ruled that Tackle World Adelaide Metro has breached the General Retail Industry Award 2010 by making roster changes that failed to consider divorced father Jaymon Hocking’s family situation. The amended roster (which was at odds with his commitment to care for his children every second weekend) required Mr Hocking to work six out of eight Sundays.