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Work drinks are part of the workplace

Bullying & HarassmentAugust 15, 2014

Work drinks are part of the workplace (Last Updated On: August 15, 2014)

Friday after work drinks is a social activity partaken by many industries and is a way for colleagues to meet and greet in a space away from the workplace. However could it be, that the pub up the road from your office is still considered the ‘workplace’?

In a recent case taken to The Federal Court, a women has won a sexual harassment case for several incidents with a male colleague in nearby bars. The bars were deemed to be the workplace because management had invited the staff to attend. Employers must be aware that establishments outside the workplace can still be considered such if there is sufficient connection to work and work colleagues.

$500,000 was awarded to Jemma Ewin a chartered accountant from an entertainment company. She was sexually harassed four times by a casual accountant employed at the time. The casual employee persisted to pursue Ewin in an explicit and crude way. The inappropriate work relationship and the mix of alcohol ultimately lead to Ewin’s impaired judgment and she became vulnerable when intoxicated. On one occasion she awoke with no recollection of the night before but showed physical symptoms which were consistent with sexual penetration. The accused was found to have assaulted her in the workplace, without her consent.

Employers need to be vigilant and be aware of the laws in place regarding bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace. Businesses need to have strict policies and procedures in place to protect them from liability. Employsure can help you to apply these policies and procedures so that your workplace is a safe and non-discriminatory one. If you think that you need to have such policies and procedures enforced in your workplace call Employsure on 1300 651 415 or fill in the form below.

*Information sourced via the Smart Company website.

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