What’s been happening in Australia in relation to workplace sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying from 9 – 15 November 2015

Dismissal not valid
The Fair Work Commission ruled that Melanie Davidson was not validly dismissed after an incident when she allegedly told a co-worker to “go and punch Stacey in the face.” It was accepted by the Commission that these comments were intended as a joke and taken out of context. The employer also referred to an incident when she allegedly raised her voice and swore at another staff member calling them a “f***ing c***.” The FWC considered that “this earlier warning was mentioned as a support for action that was taken rather than a major factor.” The FWC determined that there was no valid reason for dismissal. Further the FWC stated that the employer had failed to give sufficient weight to Mrs Davidson’s length of service, and could have applied a sanction that would have been less severe and more appropriate.

Discrimination Report
The Randstad Workmonitor Report has suggested that the number of Australians subject to discrimination in the workplace is higher than global averages. The report revealed that 79% of Australian workers believe their business has an open an inclusive culture and 89% value diversity in the workplace. However 25% of Australian workers have been subject to gender discrimination and 20% say that they are subject to racial discrimination at work. Additionally 16% of Australian workers said they had been subject to religious discrimination. These figures are significantly higher than New Zealand which reported 16%,10%, and 9% respectively.

State Parliament Committee re John Doyle
The State Parliament Public Accounts and Estimates Committee have upheld two complaints of bullying and sexual harassment against John Doyle. The Committee was satisfied that Mr Doyle made an unwanted sexual advance to the complainant, and unwanted sexual contact with her. Further, following this occasion, the committee was satisfied that Mr Doyle engaged in repeated instances of unreasonable behaviour that amounted to bullying the complainant.