Sexual harassment alleged at Australia Post

Issue 

Sexual harassment alleged at Australia Post

By Angela Matheson

SYDNEY — Complaints from female staff and a male worker of sexual harassment at Australia Post are being investigated by the Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL) and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission respectively.

Women workers from different departments within Australia Post complained to WEL that male colleagues talked about women's bodies in a crude manner, discussed their sex lives in explicit detail and grunted and simulated orgasm every day.

A male worker in the accounts department has also complained of bullying and intimidating behaviour. He has lodged a complaint with the commission alleging that fellow workers constantly used sexual language and homosexual inferences to victimise him.

WEL, which has lodged a complaint with Australia Post on behalf of the female workers, claims sexual harassment is endemic and that male workers often "behave like gangsters".

In response to the complaint, Kevin Duncan, the deputy general manager for Australia Post, has called for an urgent report from the organisation's equal employment opportunity section.

But WEL is critical of Australia Post's previous handling of sexual harassment complaints. A woman who had been forced to listen to 13 male colleagues pretending to reach orgasm in one day and complained to an EEO officer was sent to a psychologist to learn how to work with blue collar men.

The man alleging sexual harassment lodged his complaint with the commission only after being dissatisfied with Australia Post's internal inquiry. Now on stress related sick leave, the man listed in his formal complaint examples of the behaviour he found offensive, including talk of the size of his penis, masturbation and taunts alleging homosexuality.

An Australia Post spokesperson said the man's complaint had been investigated twice and no evidence had been found to support the allegations.

WEL has pointed out that sexual harassment is illegal and that Australia Post is legally obliged to act to remove it.

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