WHAT would you do if you witnessed someone being sexually harassed at work?
Most of us like to believe we’d defend the victim but studies show we usually stay silent, even look the other way.
We don’t want to take sides or we fear losing our job, particularly if it’s the boss doing the harassing.
There’s also the danger of becoming a target yourself, as happened to a NSW coal miner who became a victim after intervening in the harassment of another employee.
For standing up for his coworker, the miner was subjected to male genitalia being drawn on his hard hat, having to witness fellow employees expose themselves and openly masturbate while travelling from the surface down to the mine pit and being referred to as ‘‘bleeding from the bum Bennie’’.
At an after-work drinking session, the victim’s Christmas list, including gifts for his wife and daughter, was read aloud to humiliate and ridicule him.
Two miners were sacked over the harassment, so justice was eventually done, but the case is a good example of what can happen to us if we stand up for those being harassed.
The scales need to tip in workplaces so more of us intervene when we see harassment happening.
The scourges of bullying and harassment would leave our workplaces faster if we, the workers, united in displaying zero tolerance for the behaviour rather than waiting for bosses to take action.