The FWC has upheld the dismissal of a 63-year-old male employee who sent text messages calling a 37-year-old male colleague his "bitch" and "toy boy" and threatened to "molest" him and squeeze his testicles until it made him cry.
There is "no place for bawdy offensive alpha-male behaviour in the workplace", the FWC has found, in upholding the dismissal of a male worker for asking a female colleague for a kiss and telling another co-worker that he wanted to "f-ck" his sister.
A male worker and an employer that pledged to indemnify him after he was accused of sexual assaulting a female colleague have been ordered to jointly pay her $130,000 in damages for pain and suffering and for the company to pay a further $20,000 in aggravated damages, after it conducted a "trenchant defence" of the perpetrator, who took advantage of the young woman after she collapsed at work.
Employers should be subject to a stronger onus to prevent s-xual harassment under the existing positive duty to provide safe workplaces under OHS laws, while the Fair Work Act should be amended to include explicit anti-harassment rights, according to Victoria Legal Aid.
The FWC has told an employer that it must accept responsibility for a "suboptimal" workplace culture that it could have reset before sacking two senior wharf workers who verbally abused a female colleague, but it upheld their dismissals for behaviour that "crossed the line".
The ACTU will use the results of a large online survey showing more than 60% of female respondents have experienced workplace sexual harassment to push its case for the FWC to be given the power to resolve related disputes.
Social media "moves the dial" on harassing workplace behaviour and will contribute to more litigation flowing through to the courts, according to Australian Human Resources Institute chair Peter Wilson.
Fewer than one in five people who experienced workplace s-xual harassment in the last five years made a formal report or complaint about it, according to a new national survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
A leading workplace academic has called on legislators to consider a UK parliamentary inquiry's recommendation to impose a legal obligation to protect workers from sexual harassment, with breaches resulting in "substantial financial penalties".