What’s been happening in Australia in relation to workplace sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying from 21 – 27 September 2015 ?

Mr Yokohata was awarded $50,000 in compensation after the FWC found he had been unfairly dismissed after taking time off work to recover from surgery. Yokohata gave written notice to his employer that he would be absent from work for 10 days after previously discussing it with his boss. On his last day of leave he phoned his employer to say his recovery was taking longer than expected and he would return in 4 days. When he returned to work and presented a medical certificate he was verbally dismissed. He was informed that he was not meeting the business’s expectations. His employer was not present at the hearing and did not provide any written documentation regarding the dismissal. Commissioner Cambridge ruled the termination was “manifestly harsh, unreasonable and unjust.”

JB Hi-Fi has been forced to issue a public apology after a Brisbane man with Down syndrome was denied entry into of its stores. The security guard told the man’s sister he had previously banned another down syndrome man from the store earlier in the week and that people with down syndrome all look the same. Refusing service to a person with a disability is discrimination based on disability.

A study has found that people bullied at work are more likely to consider suicide than those who have never experienced workplace bullying. The survey revealed that while less than 5% of participants had suicidal thoughts during the study period, they were about twice as likely to do so after being bullied at work. The researchers concluded that “workplace bullying may be a precursor to suicidal ideation, whereas suicidal ideation seems to have no impact on the subsequent risk of being bullied.”

A new report has found that more than 1 in 10 complaints of sexual harassment at work are by men. The report found that women were accused of sexually harassing men in 5% of cases and men accused other men in 11% of cases. The vast majority of cases were still brought by females against males. This is the first time that researchers have analysed the nature of sexual harassment complaints lodged in all of the Australian states and territories.

“Unfriending” a colleague on Facebook can amount to workplace bullying. Ms Roberts was an employee at an Estate agency and was found to have been bullied by a sales administrator, Ms Bird, when she unfriended her on Facebook and stopped saying ‘good morning’. Commissioner Wells said that Ms Bird’s decision to unfriend Ms Roberts after an argument was ‘unreasonable’ and shows a ‘lack of emotional maturity.’ Commissioner Roberts said Ms Bird’s decision to unfriend her colleague was “indicative of unreasonable behaviour.” The decision was not based on this single incident, it was part of a pattern of workplace bullying over time, and this was the latest act in the pattern of bullying. The decision also said that unfriending a person on Facebook does not automatically constitute as bullying. Ms Roberts also claimed that Ms Bird’s husband the principal at the agency acted aggressively to belittle her and would treat her differently to other staff. Ms Roberts suffered anxiety and depression which required medication.