Crime Insiders

Crime Insiders

Crime Insiders, a LiSTNR Original Production, takes you beyond true crime. In groundbreaking interviews, explore the world of policing, forensics, and more through the stories of the world’s most experienced and decorated experts.

DETECTIVES: The Rundle Street Siege

A man brandishing two shotguns brought one of Adelaide’s busiest streets to a standstill, with former Chief Superintendent Mick Symons caught in the crossfire.

in this episode, understand Mick Symons’ illustrious policing career, from his time in the high-stakes Armed Offenders Apprehension Group to leading gripping homicide investigations, including the tragic case of Samantha O’Reilly. In this discussion with Brent Sanders, Mick delves into the evolution of policing techniques and technology, contrasting the gritty realities of the 70s and 80s with modern-day investigative methods. Explore the intricate relationship between law enforcement and the media, and learn how police leverage this dynamic to their advantage.

Promoting Respect and Understanding in the Modern Workplace

Promoting Respect and Understanding in the Modern Workplace

Promoting Respect and Understanding in the Modern Workplace

The 2021 Census indicated 28.6% of the Australian workforce was born overseas, and 72.4% of the workforce reported having at least one parent born overseas. This means that over three-quarters of the Australian workforce has a multicultural background.

The diversity of languages in the work place highlights the multicultural combination of the Australian workforce. According to the Census, over 300 languages are spoken in Australia, and 22.8% of the population speaks a language other than English at home. The most common languages spoken in the Australian workplace, other than English, are Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Cantonese, Arabic, and Vietnamese.

The Census also advised 6.5% of the workforce identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

What does this mean to you as an employer?

It means you must know the potential your workplace comprises individuals from a myriad of backgrounds, cultures, and life experiences. This diversity, while being a significant asset, also presents challenges requiring proactive management.

There are two key strategies to consider and adopt.  These are the implementation of a zero tolerance policy and the promotion of cultural sensitivity in the workplace. 

Zero Tolerance Policy: A Non-Negotiable Stance

A zero tolerance policy unequivocally states that any form of discrimination, harassment, or bullying, despite its magnitude or perceived intent, will not be tolerated.

One issue with policies is they hide in drawers or somewhere on the company’s web pages.  You must ensure employees are aware of the policy and the penalties if breached. 

It must be given to new employees.  You must stress the importance of the policy to the employee.

There is an ongoing need to communicate the policy to all employees.

If you have a newsletter, then use it to provide information regularly. Seek examples from other organisations and highlight them in the newsletter.

Some companies use posters in common areas (lunchrooms) to promote the policy. 

Enforcement: The real test of a policy is in its enforcement.

The policy is useless if it is not enforced.  You must act on any reported breach.  This may be an initial investigation followed by (if required) counselling or disciplinary action. You must record all instances and make sure the employee is aware of potential implications of ongoing improper conduct.  

Consider how employees can report incidents. Some companies have anonymous “whistle-blower” programs to allow confidential reporting. Some have identified people within the company employees can confidentially approach to raise concerns.

Do not tolerate the response of “I was only joking”.  This is a cop-out and should be rejected.  I repeat-make sure you record all instances and the actions you take to address the issues. 

Depending on the size of the organization, it may be appropriate (while maintaining individual privacy) to inform employees (by newsletter or other means) on any incidents reported and their resolutions, ensuring the workforce knows the policy is actively enforced. 

Cultural Sensitivity Training: Building Bridges of Understanding

The purpose of the training is to enlighten employees about the rich tapestry of cultures, traditions, and practices that coexist in the world, fostering an environment of mutual respect and understanding.

It may be appropriate to engage an external facilitator to conduct the training. S/he can address common stereotypes. For example, “All Asians are good at math” or “Women aren’t suited for leadership roles.” Through interactive discussions, these stereotypes can be rejected, thus highlighting the dangers of generalization.

There are also gestures to consider.  An example is the “thumbs up” gesture may be offensive to people from Afghanistan, Iran, parts of Italy, and Greece. It means “up yours.” So, while an Australian may think it indicates “OK” people from other cultures may wrongly interpret it. 

Another idea to consider is role-playing or storytelling, where an employee talks about their country or culture, providing insights to the nuances and significance of various aspects of their culture, thus fostering empathy and understanding.

There are benefits in engaging in these activities. It can reduce biases by opening people to other cultures.  It will let people reflect on and understand work ethics and communication styles. 

The greatest challenge is maintaining a regular program to ensure an ongoing appreciation of potential issues in the workplace. Consider regular meetings or gatherings.  These need not be formal meetings or tool box briefings.  Consider a lunch where people provide food based on their background. This is an informal approach highlighting cultural differences. 

In conclusion: promoting respect and understanding in the workplace is not a mere HR checkbox. It is an ongoing commitment to creating an environment where every individual, despite their background, feels valued, understood, and respected. It is about recognizing that in the rich tapestry of diverse threads, each thread has its unique value. By weaving them together with understanding and respect, businesses can create a masterpiece of collaboration, innovation, and success. Practical steps, backed by real-world examples, not only provide a roadmap for organizations but also highlight the real benefits of such initiatives.

If you want any help or further information on these issues, then contact me at [email protected] 

Managing Workplace Dynamics: Essential Tips for Small Businesses During Political Turmoil

Essential Tips for Small Businesses During Political Turmoil

In our globalized era, international political and social upheavals can profoundly influence local workplaces, despite geographical distance. Events like the recent YES/NO referendum in Australia and the ongoing Gaza situations are testament to this. For small businesses, understanding and addressing the potential repercussions of such events is paramount.

If you’re a business owner or manager, it’s important to recognize the potential ripple effects of these global events. Employees might have personal connections or passionate views about these situations, which can lead to heightened emotions or even workplace disputes. Recognizing and addressing these dynamics is the first step towards fostering a harmonious environment.

In this and upcoming posts, I’ll share strategies to help businesses navigate these challenges:

1. Promote Transparent Communication

Organize a Company-wide Meeting: Begin with a comprehensive discussion. Address the global events, their potential implications for the workplace, and the company’s perspective. This proactive step can dispel rumours and offer a platform for employees to express concerns.

Set the Meeting’s Context: Recognize the significance of events like the YES/NO referendum and the Gaza situation. Understand the events in Gaza, though geographically distant, can emotionally resonate with team members, affecting the workplace ambiance.

Clarify the Meeting’s Objective: For example, “Our goal today is to address these events, gauge their potential influence on our work environment, and brainstorm ways to maintain a supportive and cohesive atmosphere.”

Repeat Company Values: Highlight principles like respect, inclusivity, and transparent communication. This sets a positive tone and reminds everyone of the company’s foundational ethos.

Assure a Safe Environment: Emphasize that the meeting is a judgment-free zone where employees can share without fear. Confidentiality of personal views and emotions shared is paramount.

Encourage Open Dialogue: Allow team members to discuss how these events might have affected them. This can foster mutual understanding and empathy. However, track the comments to ensure they are respectful to all parties. 


Monitor Workplace Dynamics: Observe any changes in behaviour, tensions, or disagreements that might have arisen because of these events.

Evaluate Support Mechanisms: Do you offer counselling or flexible work schedules? Solicit feedback on these services and ask about additional support employees might find beneficial.

Enhance Cultural Understanding: Consider initiatives like workshops, team activities, or guest lectures to boost cultural awareness and unity.

Assess Communication Avenues: Review the efficacy of existing channels for feedback and concerns. Are there more effective alternatives?

Update Company Policies: Ensure policies on discrimination, harassment, and bullying are current and relevant, especially given global events.

Outline Next Steps: Conclude with actionable steps derived from the discussion, such as organizing workshops or revising policies. Schedule a follow-up to update employees on progress.

Remember, the essence of a successful meeting on sensitive topics lies in fostering trust, understanding, and open dialogue. Active listening, inclusive participation, and mutual respect are key.

Always offer avenues for employees to communicate concerns. Emphasize the importance of respecting diverse views and maintain a strict stance against bullying or harassment related to these issues.

Today, it is essential to stay updated and proactive. If this guide was beneficial, share it with other business professionals. Let’s champion open communication and mutual understanding in our workplaces. For more insights, reach out at [email protected] or visit


Understanding and recognising sexual harassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment is an alarming, pervasive issue that continues to plague workplaces across the globe. It is gender discrimination involving unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or other verbal or physical sexual conduct. The impact of sexual harassment is multi-faceted. It affects individuals, the organisation, productivity, the culture of the organisation, and the overall work environment. 

Types of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment typically falls into two categories: ‘Quid pro quo’ and ‘Hostile Work Environment’.

Quid pro quo’ sexual harassment occurs when job benefits–such as promotions, raises, or continued employment–are tied to the submission to sexual advances or requests. For example, if a supervisor suggests an employee might receive a promotion if they go on a date. This would be quid pro quo harassment. 

Hostile Work Environment’ harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to sexual jokes, comments, imagery, or any other sexual behaviours to a degree that the work environment becomes intimidating, hostile, or offensive, or when their performance is adversely affected. For example, if a group of employees frequently share explicit content or make sexual remarks about another employee, leading them to feel uncomfortable or unsafe. This is considered a hostile work environment. 

Indicators of sexual harassment

Recognising sexual harassment in the workplace often means being aware of various indicators, which can include unwanted sexual advances, sexual jokes, or comments, sexual or offensive material, inappropriate communications, sexual favouritism, retaliation, hostile work environment, sexual assault, and stalking or obsessive behaviour. 

Unwanted sexual advances can range from suggestive comments to unwelcome touching or physical closeness. For example, an employee might constantly face intrusive inquiries about their personal life, receive unwelcome compliments about their physical appearance, or even find a co-worker invading their personal space.

Sexual jokes or comments can involve lewd jokes, suggestive remarks, or sexually explicit language. Suppose someone frequently subjected an employee to colleagues making sexually offensive jokes or comments about their appearance or sexual orientation, despite expressing their discomfort. In that case, they are experiencing sexual harassment.

Sexual or offensive material refers to the display of sexual or offensive material, such as explicit images or videos. For example, if explicit content is frequently shared in a group chat, or sexually explicit images are displayed in the workspace, this could constitute sexual harassment. 

Inappropriate Communications can be emails, text messages, or social media interactions with sexual undertones or inappropriate comments. For instance, receiving unsolicited sexually explicit emails or messages from a co-worker or supervisor is a form of sexual harassment.

Sexual Favouritism is when decisions about promotions, job assignments, or other work benefits are based on submission to sexual advances or favours. If an employee notices that colleagues who engage in sexual relationships with superiors receive preferential treatment, it can be sexual favouritism, “quid pro quo” harassment.

Retaliation can occur if someone complains about sexual harassment and then experiences negative consequences at work, such as being demoted, fired, given fewer desirable assignments, or otherwise treated poorly. Retaliation is a form of sexual harassment and is illegal in numerous jurisdictions.

The Hostile Work Environment is when the workplace is permeated by sexual conduct, comments, or innuendos that make an employee feel uncomfortable, intimidated, or distressed.

Sexual Assault includes any unwanted sexual contact or activity. Any form of non-consensual physical contact, from touching to more severe actions, falls into this category and is not only harassment but also a criminal offence.

Stalking or Obsessive Behaviour involves unwelcome attention, such as persistent calls, messages, or following someone around. A pattern of obsessive focus, repeated attempts at contact, or disturbing messages may signal this type of harassment. 

The impact of sexual harassment on victims and the workplace.

Sexual harassment takes a significant toll on its victims, leading to psychological, emotional, and sometimes physical distress. Victims may experience depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and a host of other mental health issues. The emotional toll can also affect their personal relationships and overall quality of life. 

The impact of sexual harassment extends beyond the individual, affecting the workplace. It can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, higher turnover rates, and a decline in job satisfaction among employees. When employees do not feel safe or respected, their engagement and output inevitably suffer.

Sexual harassment also affects the overall culture of an organisation. It can breed an environment of fear and mistrust, damaging team cohesion and collaboration. In the long term, a company’s reputation can be severely damaged, affecting its ability to attract and keep top talent. 

What employers can do to prevent sexual harassment?

Preventing sexual harassment in the workplace requires a multi-faceted approach from employers. A clear, comprehensive sexual harassment policy should be in place, outlining what makes up harassment, the consequences of such behaviour, and the procedure for reporting it.

Training and awareness programs are also crucial. Employers/Management should educate employers about the different forms of sexual harassment, how to recognise them, and how to respond. Bystander intervention training can also be effective, empowering employees to intervene when they witness inappropriate behaviour.

Legal consequences of sexual harassment 

The legal consequences of sexual harassment can be severe for both individuals and companies. Individuals may face disciplinary actions, termination, and legal penalties, including lawsuits and fines. Victims can hold companies liable for the harassment committed by their employees, particularly if they were aware of the harassment and did not appropriately address it. They may face lawsuits, hefty financial penalties, and severe damage to their reputation.


Recognising and addressing sexual harassment in the workplace is not just a legal obligation—it is a moral one. It is crucial to cultivating a safe, respectful, and productive work environment for all employees. By understanding what makes up sexual harassment, its impact, and how to prevent it, we can all contribute to a fairer and more respectful workplace.

Contact ACCA for an independent review/investigation if you have concerns about sexual harassment in your workplace (

#LeadershipResponsibility #WorkplaceSafety #SexualHarassmentAwareness #HumanResources

Workplace Bullying: A Silent Epidemic Affecting Employee Well-being and Productivity

Workplace Bullying: A Silent Epidemic Affecting Employee Well-being and Productivity

Workplace bullying, a pervasive issue often overlooked or unaddressed, is a silent epidemic with serious implications for employees’ mental health, productivity, and overall well-being. Despite efforts to foster inclusive and safe work environments, bullying persists, affecting individuals and organisations. In this article, I will delve deeper into the effects of workplace harassment and the crucial role management plays in creating a positive work culture. 

Impact on Mental Health: Workplace harassment and bullying have detrimental effects on employees’ mental health. Victims often experience stress, anxiety, and depression, leading to a decline in their overall well-being. The emotional turmoil caused by office bullying can also result in diminished self-esteem, decreased job satisfaction, and a reduced sense of belonging within the organisation.

The stress and anxiety caused by constant bullying can manifest in various ways, including sleep disturbances, irritability, and even physical symptoms like headaches and stomach aches. In extreme cases, workplace bullying can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other serious mental health conditions.

Decreased Productivity: Office bullying doesn’t just impact the victim; it also affects the overall productivity of the organisation. As victims become increasingly disengaged from their work, they may underperform, leading to missed deadlines and decreased output. This drop in productivity can cause financial loss for the company and have a negative impact on its reputation.

Workplace bullying can create a hostile work environment where other employees may feel uncomfortable, leading to a decrease in their productivity as well. This ripple effect can hinder teamwork, collaboration, and overall company performance. The consequences of office harassment extend beyond the individual and can permeate the entire organisation.

High Employee Turnover Rates: Workplace bullying is a primary factor contributing to high employee turnover rates. Workers who feel unsupported or unsafe in their work environment are more likely to leave, leading to a constant cycle of hiring and training new staff members. This high turnover rate can be costly for organisations and create an unstable work environment for remaining employees.

Besides the financial burden of hiring and training new staff, organisations also lose valuable knowledge, skills, and experience when employees leave due to bullying. This loss can further weaken the organisation’s performance and hinder its ability to compete in the market.

Legal and Reputational Risks: Workplace bullying may result in legal and reputational risks for organisations. Employees who are victims of workplace harassment can seek legal action against the company for failing to provide a safe work environment, leading to costly lawsuits and negative publicity.

Organisations found responsible for not addressing workplace bullying can face severe penalties, including fines and damages. The negative publicity associated with such cases can harm the company’s reputation and brand image, making it more challenging to attract and keep both clients and employees.

The Role of Management in Creating a Healthy Work Environment: Management plays a crucial role in addressing workplace bullying and fostering a positive work culture. When managers do not acknowledge or address the issue, they may inadvertently perpetuate a toxic work environment. Managers must create an inclusive and respectful workplace culture where employees feel valued and supported. This involves actively addressing incidents of bullying, providing resources and support for victims, and implementing clear anti-bullying policies.

Managers must lead by example, demonstrating respect and empathy towards their employees. They should also encourage open communication and provide a safe space for employees to report bullying incidents without fear of retaliation. Offering training on workplace bullying awareness and prevention for both managers and employees is another effective strategy for creating a more inclusive and respectful work environment.

Preventive Measures and Best Practices: Organisations can take various measures to prevent and address workplace bullying. These include:

  • Establishing a Clear Anti-Bullying Policy: Companies should develop and enforce a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that outlines the definition of workplace bullying, the consequences for those who engage in such behaviour, and the procedures for reporting incidents. This policy should be easily accessible and communicated to all employees.
  • Training and Education: Organisations should invest in regular training and education programs for both managers and employees on recognising, reporting, and preventing workplace bullying. These programs can help create awareness about the issue and equip employees with the tools they need to address and prevent bullying.
  • Encouraging Open Communication: Fostering a culture of open communication and transparency can help prevent workplace bullying. Managers should be approachable and available to listen to employees’ concerns and address them promptly. Regular team meetings can provide a platform for discussing and resolving any issues that may arise.
  • Supporting Victims of Bullying: Companies should offer support to employees who have been victims of workplace bullying. This may include providing access to counselling, mediation, or other appropriate resources to help them cope with the emotional and psychological impact of the harassment.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Regularly monitoring and evaluating the work environment can help identify potential bullying situations and ensure that anti-bullying policies are being effectively implemented. Anonymous employee surveys and feedback can provide valuable insights into the overall workplace climate and identify areas for improvement.

Conclusion: Workplace bullying is a silent epidemic with far-reaching consequences on employees’ mental health, productivity, and well-being. As organisations strive to create safe and inclusive work environments, it is crucial to recognise and address workplace harassment. By implementing effective preventive measures and fostering a positive work culture, companies can mitigate the negative impact of bullying on both individuals and the organisation, promoting a healthier and more productive work environment.

FREE Fraud Health Check for Small Businesses

Think you might be the Victim of Fraud? 

Fill out the form below to get sent our free survey that provides you with an indication of the potential vulnerability of your business to fraudulent activities.

    FREE Fraud Health Check for Businesses

    Think you might be the Victim of Fraud? 

    Fill out the form below to get sent our free survey that provides you with an indication of the potential vulnerability of your business to fraudulent activities.