Bullying And Harassment
The Australian Human Rights Commission conducted a sexual harassment survey in 2018. They examined the responses from 10,000 people. The survey indicated 39% of Australian women and 26% of Australian men had been sexually harassed at work in the previous five years.
Sexual harassment causes distress to the workers and their colleagues, it affects productivity in the workplace and impedes career progression. This has an economic impact on businesses and families.
Bullying is also a major issue within the work place. A 2021 survey indicated 30% of the workers stated they had been bullied at work. Many of these left the work place because the issues were not properly addressed.
It is important to realise the workplace is not a fixed structure, a building where people come to work. It includes home offices (harassment through computer and social media), people who work in the field, sub-contractors who may not come into the primary office. It can be a company with 10, 100, 1000 or more employees. It includes permanent, casual and sub-contractors working within the company.
There is a need to be aware of the changes in acceptance of workplace behaviour – what was accepted last year may not be acceptable today.
Hazing or induction pranks are not accepted. Inappropriate comments or behaviour no longer seen as a “joke” or a “prank”.
The work place is extended to formal and, on occasions, informal work gatherings (Friday night drinks) or work sponsored/supported gatherings.
ACCA can assist by independently investigating sexual harassment and bullying within the workplace. Mick Symons has conducted many investigations involving allegations of harassment. He will provide you with an independent investigation report to allow you to make the correct decision in relation to the alleged conduct.
He is aware of the need to provide procedural fairness to all parties involved. He is also aware of the requirement to treat all parties fairly to avoid allegations of bias in the investigation.
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