Tag Archives: harassment

Some ideas from the Change Blog

Recently, HR Daily featured an article on workplace harassment where claimant Christina Rich received an undisclosed multi-million dollar settlement from Pricewaterhouse Coopers. This was as a result of sexual harassment and victimisation in PwC’s ‘boys club’ environment.

I myself have heard my fair share of poor behaviour in the workplace, from my own experiences to those of friends, colleagues and family members. When I was younger and working at a supermarket I had a manager who used to throw things, yell and swear at staff. When we approached the Store Manager she said that we should be understanding because that’s the way his manager treated him and he didn’t know any better.

Whilst working at another retail store, some team members were involved in an altercation with my brother that resulted in him being hospitalised, a fractured eye socket and having a metal plate put in his face. When I requested not to work with the alleged person as the case was going to court, I was told to get over it by the Store Manager and staff in Head Office. More recently, a friend was told by her employer that they could not afford to pay her anymore due to the GFC. She is currently being underpaid quite a few dollars per hour according to the award wage.


Perhaps these experiences are what led me to work in HR. To look after people, but also to make things more effective.

If we think about cultural change in an organisation, it relates back to what I was talking about yesterday- it starts with changing the way an individual thinks. Now we’ve established that this is a difficult task and one which comes down to the old story about leading a horse to water. Sometimes you get to the point where you’d rather drown the horse than trying to get it to drink water!

Then this morning I came across the Change Blog and felt a little inspired reading a few of the articles. I’m hoping it might give me a few ideas and encourage others along to make personal change.

Here is an excerpt from the blog if you are interested:
Can we change? Yes we can.
Hi, my name is Peter and welcome to my corner of cyberspace.
I started blogging in 2007 to share my personal story of change. To cut a long story short, I know what it is like to be depressed and drifting through life without purpose. My wake up call came in 2006 when I received the unexpected news I was to be a father. This news was the catalyst for me getting my life in order, and these days I am happy to report that life is great.

He doesn’t profess to know all the answers, but it is refreshing to hear someone speak of their personal experiences and he has some pretty good guest posts as well. He talks about why self-awareness is so important to personal growth, health and fitness, career and life- so it’s a holistic approach. If you have some spare time, check it out or subscribe to the RSS feed.


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Filed under Change Management, Diversity/Bullying and Harassment

Bullying and Harassment; is it an issue in Australia?

As HR peeps we should all know what bullying and harassment is, and given that we regularly present to our clients on what it is and what to do; is it still a major concern for organisations?

Unfortunately, Yes.

According to a survey by CareerOne.com.au:
• 74% Australian workers say they have been bullied at work
• Of those bullied, 65 per cent said they were intimidated, threatened and verbally abused by either a colleague or manager.
• 57 per cent reported that they currently work with someone they considered to be a bully
• Nearly one third claim to have been sexually harassed
• 74 per cent of sexual harassment cases went unreported, often because workers feared the impact it would have on their job.

sexual harassment

Unbelievable right? Who knew so many people were facing bullies everyday at work. When we think about bullies we often think about physical harm, but verbal abuse is just as serious.

A few years ago Redinald David Mowat became the first person in Victoria to be convicted of a bullying charge that did not involve physical violence. He worked as a radio announcer of Ballarat station 3BA until he was sacked after allegations of attacks on up to six people.

In November 2002, Mowat allegedly said to a co-worker: “Fair dinkum, you’re f—in’ useless . . . you’re just f—in’ me around.” He then said: “I will take you down the back and f—in’ smash you, I will.”
He also slapped and grabbed co-workers and plead guilty to one count of willfully placing at risk the health of persons in the workplace through physical abuse. Read the whole article.

More recently, a woman was awarded $466,000 in damages after being sexually harassed and then terminated for phoney reasons.

You can view the case yourself, but here are some of the allegations:

In early April 2005, Mr A Hickinbotham commented to her in the workplace, in the presence of others, that she had “two good assets” whilst staring at her breasts.

In May 2005, the third respondent Mark Flynn, another sales consultant employed by ESA, sent her three unsolicited emails and a number of SMS text messages inviting her to have a sexual relationship, which humiliated and shocked her. Ms Poniatowska reported that conduct to her supervisor Ms Sharrad. No action was taken and Ms Sharrad commented to her “what do you expect with a face like yours?”

In June 2005, Mr Lotito sent Ms Poniatowska a coarse MMS picture message on her mobile telephone depicting a woman giving a man oral sex and a text message “U have 2 b better” and in June or July 2005, Mr Lotito then pestered her on a number of occasions by telephone to have sex with her. She did not formally complain to her employer about that, but mentioned it to another consultant who did report it. Ms Poniatowska says the investigation of that matter was unsatisfactory.

On 29 August 2005, Ms Sharrad asked Ms Poniatowska to enter into a sexual relationship with a man from another building company, so that the Hickinbotham Group could secure a land deal with that company.

On 30 September 2005, Mr M Hickinbotham kissed her “strongly on the mouth” whilst on the dance floor at a function being conducted by her employer.

It’s time we got serious about this in Australia and started walking the walk, instead of just talking the talk in our presentations every two years. It’s going to be a top priority for me this year.

How will you ensure your workers are free from bullying and harassment?

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Filed under Diversity/Bullying and Harassment