Get­ting to the bot­tom of it

Central Leader - - OPINION -

Un­pro­fes­sional of­fice talk and be­hav­iour forced the res­ig­na­tion of high pro­file Can­ter­bury Earth­quake Re­cov­ery Au­thor­ity head Roger Sut­ton.

But what about a decision a few days later when a Hamil­ton Em­ploy­ment Re­la­tions Au­thor­ity found that a slap by the boss on the bot­tom of a woman worker was in ‘‘the con­text of a joke be­tween the boss and the com­plainant’’.

‘‘She was be­ing cheeky about his floppy hat and he slapped her on the bot­tom.

‘‘It was a one-off slap which I ac­cept was a ‘fun slap’ – in­ap­pro­pri­ate and not to be re­peated but not sex­ual ha­rass­ment.’’

The woman re­signed the day after the slap and later took a case against her for­mer boss.

She also al­leged pre­vi­ous in­ci­dents of sex­ual ha­rass­ment in­volv­ing at least six other women.

But the em­ploy­ment au­thor­ity mem­ber found she and her part­ner, who also worked there, were not re­li­able wit­nesses.

Be­fore you leap to your key­board with mut­ter­ings about the decision be­ing ‘‘a mat­ter of blokes stick­ing to­gether’’, the em­ploy­ment au­thor­ity decision maker was a woman, Anna Fitzgib­bon.

A ques­tion: The in­ci­dent was in De­cem­ber 2013. Why has it taken so long to be de­cided? In the mail­bag:

‘‘I en­joy your col­umn so keep com­ing!

‘‘In my opin­ion two peo­ple are to

’em blame for the Phillip Smith/Traynor or alias, tragic and very ex­pen­sive farce.

‘‘The first is the judge who in 1995 granted Smith bail on charges of se­ri­ous sex­ual as­sault and in­tim­i­da­tion against his young neigh­bour.

‘‘The sec­ond is the per­son who drove Smith from Carter­ton to his vic­tim’s new, ‘se­cret’ Wellington home in breach of bail con­di­tions. Th­ese two peo­ple still haven’t been charged with be­ing ac­ces­sories to ag­gra­vated bur­glary, mur­der and armed kid­nap­ping.

‘‘If the judge had done his or her job prop­erly and treated a vi­o­lent pae­dophile as an ac­tual crim­i­nal by re­mand­ing him in cus­tody this unimag­in­able and on­go­ing trauma for the vic­tims and their fam­i­lies would never have hap­pened.’’ – Fiona Allen, Pa­p­a­toe­toe

‘‘I find it in­ter­est­ing that He­len­grad has mor­phed into Len-in­grad in Auck­land as Com­rade Len and his cadres keep aim­ing to bank­rupt the city with grand schemes which our great-grand­chil­dren will still be pay­ing for.

‘‘Wouldn’t it be great to have Auck­land for Auck­lan­ders in­stead of this ‘World’s Most Liv­able City’ which I, for one, am fed up with hear­ing about.

‘‘I came across this sub­mit­ted to a mag­a­zine by Mrs B E Boc­ca­bella from Gen­nebank, Queens­land, writ­ten by her late fa­ther, George Wal­lace, un­der the name of Milt­s­peare and felt it so apt for Auck­land at present.’’ – Gra­ham Si­mons

ONE civil ser­vant with noth­ing to do

Got an as­sis­tant and then there were two.

TWO civil ser­vants kept the job alive

’Til more were ap­pointed and then there were five.

FIVE civil ser­vants slav­ing with the pen

Formed a depart­ment and then there were 10.

TEN civil ser­vants, you’d think would be plenty

But be­ing a depart­ment, ex­tended to 20.

TWENTY

civil ser­vants with a head so haughty

Dou­bled the num­ber and then there were 40

FORTY civil ser­vants rea­sons good and weighty

Needed as­sis­tants and then there were 80.

So the game went on and on – it’s re­ally rather fun

To make a hun­dred joblets where for­merly was one.

with

Gone: For­mer high pro­file ser­vant Roger Sut­ton re­signed after sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions.

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