Opinion: A ban on victims selling their silence will have unintended consequences.
In most disputes about bullying or sexual harassment there is a common desire to seek resolution with minimal disruption to the careers and damage to the reputation of all stakeholders – employers and employees included. Most do not want media scrutiny. Most want confidentiality and privacy, which can be achieved with an NDA, which is often a two-way agreement.
Banning silence will not achieve these ends and would, in fact, stifle prompt and (comparatively) painless resolution of complaints and, importantly, fast access to compensation.Sexual harassment and bullying cases are not big dollar value claims, but employers are frequently prepared to be generous early for an economically efficient outcome. This is understandable given the cost to an employer for an investigation can be between $20,000 to $50,000, and defending formal proceedings much higher.
If respondents to claims are unable to buy silence from complainants, then there is more of an incentive to try to defend the matter and their reputation during formal litigation, involving vigorous attempts to discredit the complainant.Further, respondents are going to fear the implication that a settlement is an admission of wrongdoing. Given that there would be no chance of using an NDA to avoid adverse messaging, and paying a settlement early in the process may be seen as indicative of guilt, why would an employer strike any early bargain?
The expense in funding sexual harassment matters to the point of judgment is considerable. If the complainant fails to make out their case, then they are exposed to a costs order, which often leads to debts in excess of a $100,000.If there is no prospect of a substantial negotiated settlement, many complainants will not have the necessary appetite for risk or the resources to fund themselves while waiting for court-ordered compensation.
This will have the unintended result of fewer people complaining about misconduct in the workplace.And while there is merit to the contention that NDAs can hide habitual misconduct, our view is that this is a responsibility that sits squarely on the shoulders of boards and management who – in these times – would be foolish to protect employees who are repeatedly the subject of complaint.
Women do almost double the hours of unpaid work per week compared to men, according to the latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA Survey), out today. The statistic was among several worrying trends for Australian women including soaring costs in childcare, and the fact that single parent families and young people continue to be disproportionally disadvantaged compared to the rest of the community.
For those aged over 65, poverty is both more prevalent and more persistent, especially for women. Welfare reliance is higher among people aged 65 and over than among people aged 18 to 64.
Roughly 71.6 percent of young people who are not in the labour force or studying say they are undertaking caring duties, have a disability or experience health barriers.
Housework is the largest form of unpaid work, averaging roughly 10 hours per week, followed by caring for one’s own children.
Liberal senator David Van has apologised to Jacqui Lambie for interrupting her in parliament, but denied claims that someone growled or made “dog noises”.
It came after Labor and Greens senators claimed growling and “dog noises”, directed at Senator Lambie, had come from a section of Coalition politicians in the chamber.
The alleged incident, on Tuesday afternoon, came just hours after a landmark report on sexual harassment and sexism in Parliament was released.
On November 16, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued new guidelines, which it said followed a two-year consultation with over 250 athletes and concerned stakeholders.“IOC Framework on Fairness, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations” determined there should be no presumption that male athletes seeking to participate in women’s sports have an automatic advantage over female competitors.While 2015 IOC guidelines recommended male athletes maintain testosterone blood levels at 10 nmol/L or below for at least 12 months before they were eligible to compete in women’s sports, the new framework discards the requirement, concluding that athletes should not be pressured to undergo medically unnecessary procedures or treatment or be forced to undergo invasive physical exams to determine their sex.The IOC’s new framework flies in the face of recent professional research.
While sexism is a pervasive issue when it comes to women’s clothing, the chauvinism in sport is abundantly evident.
This display was highlighted recently when the International Handball Federation was called on to amend athlete uniform guidelines. Their rules stipulated that women beach handball players wear “bikini bottoms with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg” explicitly noting that “the side width” be a maximum of 10 centimetres.
In highlighting the sexist norms baked into women’s sport uniforms, researchers Sarah Zipp and Sasha Sutherland noted that uniform designs are less likely to be centred around performance, and more likely to cater to the “male gaze.”
This has the unfortunate effect of unjustly prioritizing the esthetic appeal of women over their athletic talent. This superficial approach completely neglects the multiplicity of body types and cultural nuances. It’s also completely arbitrary.
Ernst & Young found that 94 per cent of women executives reported playing sports — which means girls who play sport are more likely to become women who lead.
Let’s let women and girls dress for the role they want to play in women’s sport. And when stale uniform policies get in the way, don’t be afraid to take a page out of Team Norway’s book: speak up and say enough is enough.
Women’s Leadership Institute Australia released their latest Women for Media report, examining the role of female voices in the media.
The report divides the collected data into two separate sections.
The first, titled Big Picture, explores a sample of more than 57,000 online news articles published in May this year across outlets including The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Australian and The Australian Financial Review to determine the number of women quoted, compared to men.
The results found that men’s voices continue to dominate — ‘she said’ appeared in 32 percent of the quotes in all the articles, while ‘he said’ made up 68 percent of the quotes.
The second section, titled ‘Top Billing’ looked at roughly 4000 articles appearing on either the first page of print publications or on the main section of the publication’s home page to determine the gender of the authors of the articles.
The data shows that men had the first (or only) byline in 65 percent of stories compared to women, who had 35 percent.
Just a few days ago, we received the happy news that Australian law professor Hilary Charlesworth has been elected as a judge to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Almost in parallel, at the same time, the University of Chicago Law Review published an essay by Fred Shapiro, containing the list of most cited legal scholars of all time. The top 25 such scholars are all men. In other words, despite the seeming prominence of some of our notable female colleagues, not a single one of them has amassed a sufficiently high number of citations to be included on this list.
Six years ago, a group of human rights lawyers launched the GQUAL Campaign in order to raise awareness about the absence of women in international justice as well as to promote solutions which would contribute toward inclusion of women.
First, the Report includes crucial information about the under-representation of women at various UN bodies and mechanisms.
Second, the Report makes it clear that several of its goals would be best achieved through the informal and formal work of professional networks, which can reach women from under-represented backgrounds and adopt a proactive advocacy agenda.
Third, the Report makes clear that it is necessary to explicitly include gender parity or balance as a criterion in the selection and nomination procedures, and that it is therefore crucial to obtain personal and institutional commitments and pledges toward this goal. Fourth, the Report underscores the need for women to break the glass ceiling as a right to gender equality and non-discrimination.
And, fifth, the Report recognizes that the fundamental problem regarding women’s under-representation at international institutions is the lack of appropriate domestic nomination processes, which, coupled with the lack of institutional mechanisms to remedy the issue at the international level, lead toward a perpetual absence of gender parity.
Once international law’s ceiling is hopefully broken, not only will women occupy a respectable number of positions at prominent institutions, but in addition female scholars will be cited equally as their male counterparts. Let’s hope that, in the near future, Judge Charlesworth is in mostly female company at the ICJ and that the list of top-cited legal scholars includes the names of our distinguished female colleagues.
US — Brownsburg, Indiana. A public high school teacher referred to all students by their last names to circumvent a school policy requiring staff to use the preferred names and pronouns of transgender-identifying students. The teacher resigned under pressure, and filed a lawsuit alleging religious discrimination and compelled speech “forcing a teacher to take a side on this very highly controversial topic.” A district court recently ruled in favor of the high school.
Gaming giant Activision Blizzard has settled a sexual harassment case brought by a US federal employment watchdog for $18m (£13.2m).
The company – which makes massively popular games such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Overwatch – said the agreement was “part of its effort to have the most welcoming, inclusive workplace”.
However, the EEOC legal case is only one of several Activision Blizzard is facing over allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination.
[S]ome of Activision’s investors filed legal cases against the firm in August for allegedly concealing the damaging allegations from shareholders.
Australia was one of the pioneers when it came to legislating for equal pay in 1969 and 1972, and then with gender equality reporting since 1986.
Introduced in 2012, the Workplace Gender Equality Act requires employers to report data by gender on remuneration, workforce composition and the recruitment, promotions and resignations of their employees. This data goes to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
Although Australia’s legislation has generated a world-leading dataset on workplace gender equality, our research found that data collection and monitoring alone are not enough to drive widespread change.
Australia falls behind on aspects of transparency and accountability for corrective action.