Ca­reerOne

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - News - Fran Met­calf met­calff@qnp.newsltd.com.au

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.

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