CULTURE CRITICIZED AFTER HARASSMENT CASE

The Fair Work Commission has ruled a worker was appropriately dismissed from his job due to engaging in inappropriate sexual jokes and comments towards colleagues.

The Fair Work Commission has determined his actions amounted to sexual harassment and provided a valid reason for his dismissal but significantly also found the company's workplace culture didn't support reporting such behaviour, allowing it to persist for years.

The company, Highland Pine Products Pty Ltd, was warned to take stronger measures to prevent harassment, as it has a legal obligation to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

The worker's behaviour included discussing his sex life, making explicit comments, approaching colleagues for dates, and using offensive language.

The commissioner emphasized that such conduct is unwelcome regardless of the individual's intentions, and the impact on complainants can be significant.

Source: OHS Alert, 28 August. Lindsay Swift v Highland Pine Products Pty Ltd [2023] FWC 1997 (10 August 2023)

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