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Month long sexual harassment results in $476k damages

Month long sexual harassment results in $476k damages

As workplaces wind down for the year, workplace functions start to pepper the social calendar.

While many employees will be on their best behaviour, employers must be mindful of those individuals who can ruin it for the rest.

This recent Federal Court case exemplifies some of the risks associated with investigating sexual harassment in the workplace and raises a number of serious questions for employers.

Sexual harassment investigation held “inept & unprofessional”

Sexual harassment investigation held inept and unprofessional

Multiple failures by the employer in a recent sexual harassment claim has lead QCAT to describe the ensuing workplace investigation as “inept and unprofessional”.

General disregard for the basics of an HR investigation meant that the employer could not escape liability for the sexual harassment of an employee. It was accepted in the case that the combination of the sexual harassment and the subsequent mishandling of the complaint caused the employee to suffer psychiatric injury.

It is relatively easy to avoid the costly mistakes of this employer in an HR investigation, as long as you follow a few simple steps. Read on to find out how …

What are you investigating? Performance OR misconduct – it’s not as clear as you may think!

What are you investigating? Performance OR misconduct?

Before commencing any workplace investigation, HR investigators must understand what they’re investigating. Is it unsatisfactory performance? Is it misconduct? Is it a combination?

Employers who get it wrong may be vulnerable to an unfair dismissal finding if they’re sued.

We highlight a recent dismissal case involving a child care centre that demonstrates the importance of knowing the difference between performance and conduct…

Gilroy v Angelov – Still Current for Today’s Sexual Harassment Investigations

Several weeks after she commenced her job, Leoni Gilroy, complained to her employer that she wanted to start later because a co-worker continually said “suggestive things”.

Her employer, instead of taking action, dismissed the comments as part of the co-worker’s “sense of humour” and the harassment continued.

Unfortunately for the employer, the Federal Court did not see the joke in the employee’s actions and held the employer responsible for its employee’s sexually harassing behaviour.

This case still provides useful guidance about the risks for employers when receiving a report of sexual harassment …

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