Within the space of a week, both have been rocked by scandals,
"out of the blue" according to media reports, arising
from "conduct unbecoming" – abuse based on race in
one case, and sexual harassment by a senior employee of a
subordinate in the other.
Other common features include:
the offender was a "star", who did not follow
ordinary rules of acceptable behaviour
the incidents which have hit the media were only "out of
the blue" because no-one had complained before
in both cases, it seems from media reports that the incidents
were in fact part of a history of similar conduct, or at least
conduct which should have rung alarm bells
it seems likely that no-one complained before because the
offenders were powerful people and stars in the organisation, so
that complaining would take some courage
the individuals involved have incurred substantial penalties,
as well as loss of reputation
both organisations have suffered dreadful PR and severe loss of
focus, and Timana Tahu's departure from the Blues illustrates
how staff turnover can arise from undesirable behaviour
at least for DJs, compensation claims by the first complainant,
and others, seem likely.
You might think "There but for the grace of God goes my
organisation". However, as with OH&S, there is much which
can be done to identify (potentially) discriminatory behaviour, and
limit the risks, although it is impossible to eliminate risk
In these two cases, it seems that there would have been
occasions or opportunities for someone in authority to give
feedback to, counsel or warn the offenders. That sometimes requires
courage in the face of other risks, but is essential if risky
behaviour is to be halted.
It is not enough to have systems (policies, procedures) in
place, essential though they are. It is not enough to do training
on those systems, once. Having a culture of compliance means
treating those systems as an ongoing project, with particular
emphasis on trouble spots, usually people who are trouble, despite
the positives they bring to the organisation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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