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UpdatesJun 25, 2020

The hidden legal risk every organisation faces

This week, the High Court of Australia has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

By Michael Selinger

This week, the High Court of Australia has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Instead of issuing announcements regarding the rights and obligations of Australians, the High Court this week has issued a public apology after an independent inquiry upheld allegations of sexual harassment perpetrated by former High Court judge Dyson Heydon. The claims, brought by a number of Mr Heydon’s former female associates, have been denied by the former judge.

The allegations, made against a person who held one of the highest legal positions in the country, is a stark reminder that harassment and bullying can occur in any workplace. And as the world has learned from the #metoo movement, all too often acts of harassment take place in workplaces where there is a culture of silence or turning a blind eye to victims. For the harassment to end, the unlawful practices need to be called out.

There are important lessons for all organisations to learn from this matter: 

But all these steps will not result in an improved workplace unless a strong culture of calling out harassment is inspired by the leaders of the organisation. It is only through the support and guidance of leaders that such a culture is encouraged and fostered.

So don’t delay. Review the steps that your organisation has in place to deal with harassment. If they are not adequate, then move now to implement change.

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