The boss of two hospital coffee shops and their associated companies has been fined a total of $290,000 due to multiple cases of sexual harassment against staff.
The Director of the companies was fined $40,000 directly for failing to ensure a safe workplace. The employing companies, Whitelom Investments Pty Ltd and Whitelom Pty Ltd were fined a further were fined $110,000, and $140,000 respectively. Both companies are now in liquidation.
As reported in SafetyNet 664 WorkSafe began investigating after a complaint of persistent sexual harassment in April 2021, involving six workers, some as young as 16.
The harassment included physical and verbal actions, with the boss's behaviour dating back to 2014.
The court found that it was reasonable for the boss to prevent such behaviour and for the companies to establish a way for employees to report incidents of harassment.
In a related media release WorkSafe emphasised the importance of clear standards, policies, and procedures to prevent, respond to, and report workplace harassment.
Victorian unionists have led the charge to have gendered violence recognised as an OHS issue. These charges are the result of years of work by workers in union.