Diversity & equal rights

The pandemic has prompted many organisations to adopt ‘hybrid’ work models. Seyfarth’s global Future of Work pulse survey in 2021 found that navigating remote and hybrid work was the number one concern that in-house legal and business leaders had coming out of the pandemic. There are a number of key reasons why ‘hybrid’ work is

Our project was finished. With grins on our faces, my colleague and I walked towards each other, hands sailing through the air in synchronised arcs. Onlookers shouted, “No, don’t! It’s not COVID-safe….” Our grins faded, but it was too late. We high fived. Cringed. And hand sanitised.

There’s going to be an awkward

The first time a global client asked me for a template employment diversity form, I didn’t know what they were after.

They wanted to track their workforce’s diversity attributes (asking every person about race, gender identity, sexual orientation, disabilities, etc.) so that they could track performance on their broader diversity targets. This is typical practice

Care or career – it doesn’t have to be a choice

Do you know which one of your nearest eight colleagues provides unpaid care for a loved one? The number of working adults who juggle unpaid carer’s responsibilities is high, hidden, and growing. Most working Aussies will have unpaid care responsibilities intrude regularly throughout their

It is an indisputable fact that women are not equally represented in leadership roles or management positions in Australian companies and governments, not even close. Even in 2016, this is the case in almost all arenas of business and politics and is most certainly a global issue, although Australia even appears to lag in this indicator among developed nations. This flows through to an under-representation of women on boards of directors of Australian public companies. Earlier this year consultant Conrad Liveris found that there were fewer women in CEO and chair roles in ASX 200 companies than there were men named either John, Peter or David in such roles. What an alarming statistic! In this note we consider whether this under-representation is caused by a failure to recognise that women as much as men are able to achieve and sustain appropriate business outcomes and conclude that this is a matter that good corporate governance can resolve.
Continue Reading A perspective on the unequal representation of women in leadership

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, the 2017 campaign message asks us to #beboldforchange and to “take action to drive change for women to forge a better working world”.

The campaign’s aims are admirable and worthy of support. But I find myself querying whether such a campaign really helps our workplaces become more holistically diverse and inclusive.
Continue Reading Playing the numbers game – diversity and inclusion

The Victorian Supreme Court recently issued a stunning decision awarding an employee over $600,000 comprising $210,000 for pain and suffering and the balance for lost past and future income, despite the employee having a significant pre-existing psychiatric illness and a finding that no bullying had occurred.  
Continue Reading Damages in bullying claims – the stakes are rising even higher

The stakes are risingIn the world of anti-discrimination law awards of money against employers for psychiatric injury or illness caused by sexual harassment by one of their employees have been rare and low, typically in the range of $12,000 to $20,000. Similarly, the anti-bullying jurisdiction of the Fair Work Commission has seen limited orders made to prevent further bullying where claims have been made, and compensation is not available as a remedy for bullying behavior.

But things are changing, especially in the area of sexual harassment where awards of damages for psychiatric illness are increasing. This reflects change in societal attitude towards this type of conduct that has (finally) started to be reflected in judicial pronouncements.

The spectrum of mental harm that can be experienced by victims of sexual harassment or bullying covers depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) any of which can be debilitating for a significant period.


Continue Reading Damages in sexual harassment and bullying claims – the stakes are rising

Work imageWhat will work look like in the future and what lessons can employers take from that? Two recent reports have identified the trends in the way in which we will work in Australia over the next 20 to 40 years.

In the first, Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce, the CSIRO looks at what they describe as six ‘megatrends’ for jobs and employment markets over the coming twenty years:
Continue Reading The future of work – what are the lessons for employers?