Qantas Staff Fear Being Labelled As Troublemakers For Reporting Workplace Sexual Harassment

Published November 05, 2019 (last updated July 22, 2020)

Qantas staff are reluctant to report sexual harassment with only 3% being willing to file a report an incident, as they fear being called ‘troublemakers’ and being ‘put through the absolute wringer’.

That’s according to an independently-run survey (via the SMH) of around 2400 Qantas staff. 25% of those surveyed said they had told Qantas they’d been sexually harassed by a co-worker, and 15% of cabin crew had been harassed by a passenger.

Female pilots were 200% more likely to report bullying, with some female pilots adding that they felt they’d received backlash from campaigns to improve gender imbalance.

Qantas’ chief operating office Rachel Yangoyan said that while the findings on sexual harassment rates were similar to Australian national workplace averages – while admitting that the 3% rate willing to make a report was too low – “we want Qantas to be better than that”.

“To be clear, we have zero tolerance for any form of abuse or discrimination in any part of the Qantas Group,” Yangoyan said in an email.

Comments from the survey included the following:

  • “If I reported something, I would be put through the absolute wringer”.
  • “When I go to managers with a problem, I am seen as a troublemaker” and “We come from a culture of what happens on tour, stays on tour. We don’t dob.”
  • There is an “underlying current of homophobia”
  • “Some of the older crew can sexually harass … They feel safe to do so”.
  • Male staff were “always telling stories about female pilots”

Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine noted his alarm at the 3% of workers who would report an incident of sexual harassment.

“This is vastly lower than the national average of 17 per cent and well below the TWU survey of cabin crew across airlines showing 31 per cent reported sexual harassment,” he said.

“Despite this glaring problem, Qantas have not revealed any changes to their systems of reporting sexual harassment to encourage more people to come forward or changes to how complaints will be dealt with.”

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