What’s Been Happening in Relation to Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying in Australia from 9 December 2019 to 15 December 2019

What Can you Do if you are Being Bullied at Work?
Mental health organisation, ReachOut, recently compiled tips on how to deal with bullying in the workplace. According to an article published on ReachOut’s website, the first step is to keep a record of any bullying incidents that occur. This includes documentation of the time and date of the incident, the perpetrator, exactly what was said or done and where the incident occurred. Next, ReachOut recommends that victims become familiar with their workplace bullying policy. This will direct victims to the appropriate person to talk to. While ReachOut acknowledged that speaking to a manager might be uncomfortable, it’s part of a manager’s job to make sure everyone feels safe and happy at work. ReachOut recommended that during any meeting with a superior, victims should make sure you bring their notes, as this will help them stay calm and will ensure they don’t leave anything out. Finally, ReachOut advised that if an organisation’s internal policies are inadequate or if the bullying is coming from the top, it’s important to lodge a formal report with an external organisation, such as SafeWork Australia or the Fair Work Commission.

The Four Big Accounting Firms Questioned Over Alleged Bullying and Sexual Harassment
The big four accounting firms – Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and EY- Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and EY- Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and EY- have stood by their business practices, despite scrutiny over alleged sexual harassment and staff conditions during a parliamentary inquiry. Partners from the four firms fronted the inquiry on Monday, which sought to investigate regulatory issues with the quality of their audit work. During the inquiry, KPMG’s responses to staff misconduct were also put under a spotlight. Senator Deborah O’Neill asked if the firm had received 12 allegations of sexual harassment and 25 of bullying in the five years to 2018. Andrew Yates, head of KPMG’s audit team, responded by saying ‘at KPMG, we have zero tolerance for harassment, bullying and sexual harassment.’ When pushed for detail about the firm’s response, however, he took the questions on notice as he was ‘not familiar with those numbers you’ve put on the table.’ This was not the only allegation of mistreatment and maladministration raised during the inquiry. Parliament also heard from one anonymous submission which claimed that PwC staff were treated as ‘human cattle’.

Independent Monitor Set Up for Troubled Victorian Local Govt Amidst Allegations of Bullying
An independent monitor has been appointed to oversee the Whittlesea Council in Victoriaoversee the Whittlesea Council in Victoriaoversee the Whittlesea Council in Victoria after Former Victorian Police chief Simon Overland became the third CEO to be sacked by the Council in the last four years. The Andrew’s Labor Government was prompted to appoint the independent monitor amid ongoing allegations of bullying and intimidation by certain councillors. The state government’s appointment comes after a letter from the Australian Services Union (ASU) exposing concerns of a ‘very toxic workplace culture.’ A number of complaints have also been received about the behaviour of councillors. Several Whittlesea staff told the ABC that a group of councillors had been obsessed with power and had treated council staff appallingly. ‘
Mr Overland reportedly took leave last month, citing risks to his own health and wellbeing. ‘Despite many attempts over the past two years, I have been unsuccessful in achieving improvement here, and in many respects the behaviours of some councillors have deteriorated, therefore increasing the risks to health and wellbeing,’ he said last month.