Blind eye: Rampant culture of discrimination

by 19 Dec 2011

Senior managers at Airservices Australia (ASA) are being called to account over allegations of extreme misconduct, relating to the distribution of pornography and consistent discrimination against and degrading behaviour towards female staff.

The Age has reported that air-traffic controller Kirsty Fletcher has sued the ASA with fresh allegations against past and present senior managers, after already having made headlines last year when the claims went public.

In Fletcher’s amended statement, she alleges senior managers at the Melbourne centre for air-traffic control, as well managers in Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart, received or were aware of pornographic emails sent by managers’ while on duty.

She has accused ASA management of failing to thoroughly investigate a whistleblower’s complaint about the distribution of pornography, namely by not engaging a computer expert to retrieve emails and by having another ASA employee conduct the initial internal inquiry.

The statement also accused a now former ASA manager of discriminating against female air-traffic controllers when they became pregnant or wanted to work part-time for family reasons.

Senior management is accused of failing to act on complaints made while the former ASA manager was still a member of staff.

Fletcher has claimed ASA had a workplace culture which was hostile to women that permitted and perpetuated bullying and discrimination, and those in power consistently failed to do anything about it.

A spokesperson from the ASA told The Age earlier this year that while they were prevented from commenting on the case whilst legal proceedings were underway, “Airservices takes the issue of workplace harassment and bullying seriously and investigates all allegations thoroughly.”

Siobhan Keating, employment special counsel at Maurice Blackburn, recently said in relation to allegations brought against IBM, that while big companies may have detailed policies on harassment free workplaces, “It’s not enough to have the right policies in place if they’re not enforced.”


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