Gerard Phillips, the head of Middletons' Workplace Relations
& Safety Group was interviewed by Boardroom Radio about the
trend of women failing to report incidents of sexual harassment in
Gerard discusses how women, particularly executives and
managers, are questioning whether or not to make a complaint out of
concern for how it will affect their careers. He acknowledges
however, that in particularly bad cases, most women will come
forward and file a complaint.
Employers should ensure they have appropriate formal policies in
place for making these types of complaints so that they can be
handled seriously. It is critical that employees are made aware of
these policies, which should be robust, confidential and enforced.
Managers who receive complaints of this nature must be informed and
educated as to how to handle the situation as this is often the
point where major irretrievable errors occur, which can often
dictate the outcome. He continues to acknowledge that many women in
the workplace do not know how to make a complaint of this nature
and this in turn magnifies their fear of making a complaint at
Gerard shares his views on recent comments by the Sexual
Discrimination Commissioner who wants the power to initiate
investigations into sexual harassment matters. He believes the
Commissioner is assuming many matters are resolved "on the
quiet" and that such power would actually, in turn, victimise
the victim again. Adopting this type of broad power approach could
potentially jeopardise people's privacy.
To listen to the radio interview, please click
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Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
Australian employees receive certain entitlements (such as annual leave and superannuation) where contractors do not.
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