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Lawyer sues Clayton Utz for sexual harassment

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HC Online | 08 Jun 2011, 12:00 AM Agree 0
A former employee of law firm Clayton Utz has filed a sexual harassment and defamation claim against the company.
  • Bernie Althofer | 08 Jun 2011, 04:12 PM Agree 0
    This is one of the great difficulties of today. Understanding the parameters of what is a workplace and where it starts and ends can be open to interpretation. Whilst some organisations may encourage social activities as an extension of the workplace (work hard/play hard) approach, there are risks involved. Whilst Codes of Conduct and policies may prescribe and include words such as respect and dignity, fairness etc, the Australian humour can sometimes see a blurring of what is and what is not acceptable. It might be more about what is acceptable in society today rather than legal responsibilities. For example, walking around the streets of any city, one can hear and see employees of organisations of many sizes engaged in spirited conversations about their workplaces and those who work their. The moralistic view might be that under no circumstances should one speak badly of another. However, given the differences in Generations (and their values and belief systems), it is sometimes difficult to explain concepts of respect and dignity when there may be some fundamental differences of opinion about the words. Of course, social media helps to blur the lines about where workplaces ends. In the past, I have read employment contracts that have been written with very specific meanings regarding this type of situation. The wording was such that any negative comment made about the organisation or any other worker made at the workplace or at another place, would result in the immediate termination of their employment and the loss of any and all accrued benefits e.g. superannuation. Whilst these were not Australian contracts, they did indicate how some organisations view the issue.
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