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Australian work ethic discriminated in the US

DiscriminationJanuary 13, 2015

Australian work ethic discriminated in the US (Last Updated On: January 13, 2015)

An Australian company, RedFlex Traffic Systems, develops and manufactures a wide range of digital photo enforcement solutions including red light cameras and speed camera systems. Redflex which has its HQ in Melbourne sells their products globally.

An Australian employee, Ms Catherine Petzel, was assigned to sell RedFlex products in the US states of Ohio and Iowa. She currently finds herself in a trial in the US District Court because she “claims the company sacked her on unlawfully discriminatory grounds in 2012”.

Redflex’s former president and chief executive of the North American operations, Karen Finley, constantly made degrading remarks about “the Australians” and their work ethic. “Ms Finley implied that Australians did not work as hard as their counterparts in the United States”. This caused Ms Petzel to feel very embarrassed and ridiculed.

Ms Petzel’s defence is that she was discriminated against by Ms Finley. She claims that Ms Finley questioned how her Australian accent “was received” in the US marketplace and expressed concerns that “potential customers might view Redflex as being too Australian”.

The verdict is yet to be revealed.

If you are an employer and do not have bullying and harassment policies clearly outlined in your employee contracts call Employsure today on 1300 651 415. We can ensure that all employees understand what acceptable behaviour is. This will result in a workplace with a positive work culture and greater respect for all employees.

*Information sourced via The Sydney Morning Herald.

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