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Kitchenhand wins $10,000 in sexual harassment case

Bullying & HarassmentOctober 2, 2014

Kitchenhand wins $10,000 in sexual harassment case (Last Updated On: October 2, 2014)

In an anti-discrimination hearing an ex-employee of a Western Australian restaurant expressed her angst after a chef sexually harassed her. The restaurant was owned by a woman and her husband was employed as the chef. Also employed at the restaurant was a mother and daughter. The mother worked as a kitchenhand and was sexually harassed by the chef.

The particular incident occurred on the 31 July 2012. The chef attempted to touch the employees breast and tried to put his hands down the mother’s t-shirt whilst in the laundry room. Even though the incident had no witnesses and a physical assault did not occur the employee filed for sexual harassment.

The mother told her daughter and sought comfort in a psychologist. The court found that the mother was a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace and due to the consistent evidence provided by her daughter and her psychologist. The victim had not ‘embellished events’ and had “experienced mental health symptomatology which would be consistent with her account of experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace”.

The restaurant owner and the chef are to pay $5,000 each in fines. The owner was found liable because she failed to provide education to staff on sexual harassment.

Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace for their employees. Training and education as well as policies and procedures must be put in place in order to properly inform your staff. Employees need to be told face-to-face and in contracts and employ handbooks the do’s and don’ts of the company. Employers who fail to do so are not only putting their staff in a harmful environment but they are also leaving themselves open to fines and investigations.

*Information sourced via Workplace Express website.

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