Melbourne security company Monjon (Australia) Pty Ltd and its director John Bernard Moncrieff have been fined a total of $116,250 for bullying offences.
The Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court heard that WorkSafe Victoria was called to the company’s office after an incident in October 2015, when Mr Moncrieff pushed an employee down a corridor in front of other staff.
In a following incident, Mr Moncrieff refused to let an employee leave the office until she agreed not to resign over the first incident.
Mr Moncrieff and Monjon were convicted and fined $19,250 and $97,000 respectively after pleading guilty to one charge each of failing to provide, as far as reasonably practicable, a safe and healthy working environment.
‘A culture of entrenched bullying’
WorkSafe Victoria said its investigation between April 2015 and August 2016 revealed Mr Moncrieff “led a culture of entrenched bullying”.
The court heard that Mr Moncrieff’s bullying conduct included him speaking to employees in an aggressive and intimidating manner by:
- raising his voice;
- swearing; and
- using sexist and racist language to describe employees.
Mr Moncrieff had also:
- made sexually suggestive comments towards employees;
- threatened to withhold pay and take away employees’ security licenses;
- made inappropriate contact with employees; and
- encouraged a culture of managers speaking aggressively to employees.
No excuse for bullying behaviour
Executive Director of Health and Safety for WorkSafe Victoria, Julie Nielsen, said there is no excuse for sexist, racist or demeaning behaviour in any workplace.
“Under no circumstances is it acceptable for managers or directors to abuse their position of power by acting aggressively or inappropriately towards employees,” she said.
“Bullying can have long term health effects on workers that are every bit as serious as those sustained from physical injuries and WorkSafe will not tolerate behaviour of this nature.”