A bisexual banker received over $60,000 compensation after sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying.
Diagnosed with several work-related psychological disorders, Mike* hasn’t been able to return to work since mid-2018.
He worked happily for a Brisbane bank for over four years until a new supervisor took over in March 2018.
During their first meeting, the supervisor told him that she could identify homosexuals.
“My first husband left me for a man. I know all the signs. You can’t pull the wool over my eyes.”
As a private person with no wish to come out at work, Mike found the statement threatening.
The supervisor went on to comment on the sexuality of other co-workers.
“Look at him just staring at his computer. He is gay.”
When another young man came into the office for an interview, she said, “he is gay too”.
She described a branch manager as “camp as a row of tents”.
Industrial relations specialist Christiaan van Oeveren from Discrimination Claims, who later represented Mike, says the supervisor’s conduct appalled him.
“Comments like that are offensive and ignorant. They also intimidate people who are actually gay, because of the implication they will suffer discrimination for their sexuality.”
“Had her period in cubes”
The supervisor told Mike she enjoyed sacking people, describing herself as so cold that she “had her period in cubes”.
During a day of approved leave to take his wife to a doctor’s appointment, Mike’s supervisor called him constantly. She demanded he performs work duties while out of the office.
She later refused Mike permission to leave the office for an appointment with a psychologist.
Afterwards, she threatened Mike with the sack when he refused to fire a junior staff member. She even blamed him for her involvement in a car accident, after he made a formal complaint about her behaviour.
Mike would eventually be diagnosed with anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, and panic disorder, all linked to hos treatment at work.
Before the matter reached a formal hearing in the Industrial Relations Commission, the bank agreed to pay Mike $60,000 compensation, plus an additional $1,500 to help fund his attempt to find a new job.
“This employer learned the hard way that it is responsible for the behaviour of its employees, so it was responsible for the awful and unlawful bullying and harassment of the supervisor, and it paid a hefty price,” Mr van Oeveren said.
If you have been subjected to sexual harassment, discrimination or bullying we can help. Please call Discrimination Claims on 1300 853 837 or visit the website here.
*Name changed to protect privacy
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