Discrimination in the workplace

Workplace Toxicity

By February 15, 2022 August 8th, 2022 No Comments
implementing diversity and inclusion

Implementing diversity and inclusion

You can’t get onto a mine site without a hard hat, steel caps or high visibility vests, and you can’t work in high levels of government without the required security clearance. Yet when it comes to keeping women safe in their workplace the failures just keep coming.

Rio Tinto’s recent actions to release what can only be described as a disturbing report may be considered a brave move and one that businesses across Australia, and the individuals who have been victimised in their place of work, needed to see.

Lisa Stockwell’s piece, No Paradise for Rio highlights how, no matter how big and financially resourced some companies might be, immunity to workplace toxicity doesn’t exist. When it comes to culture and managing behaviour it is a constant work-in-progress.

Rio Tinto has been in the news this week for all of the wrong reasons after the release of the damning but not entirely surprising findings of an 8-month formal review into ‘Every day Respect’ by former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick. More than 20 women have reported rape, attempted rape or sexual assault in the last 5 years and the report found sexism and bullying were systemic across the organisation’s worksites, with more than one-quarter of women reporting they had been sexually harassed.

Yet these statistics and the culture that they attest to is in stark contrast to the public image Rio Tinto has tried so hard to cultivate. Rio Tinto is a founding member of the Champions of Change Coalition, created to promote workplace gender equality, and Rio’s website states ‘nothing is more important to us than the safety of our employees and contractors’.  

Safety is more than steel caps and hard hats.  Psychological safety is as important as physical safety.

Mining companies, like every other industry in Australia, right now are suffering staff shortages. Proactively implementing diversity & inclusion initiatives, such as increasing the number of women in the industry, is just one way of tackling the latest war for talent.  

Recruitment software organisation LiveHire found when women are invited to apply to work in construction they are keen to do so, with a 38% positive response rate, compared to 28% for men.

But what is the point of joining an industry when working for even a global mining giant still offers women a one in four chance of being sexually harassed or worse just for doing their job?

Alarmingly, it’s not just the mining industry. Banking, law, entertainment, government, hospitality, retail – I doubt there is any industry right now in Australia where bullying and sexual harassment is not a problem.  

#MeToo has shone a light on this dirty little business secret, but it is still endemic.  

At the very least, every one of us needs to speak up when we see or hear behaviour that is not acceptable.  

If your organisation doesn’t offer Bystander Training, then demand it as the bare minimum that is required to help tackle this scourge of our society. If you are a leader in your organisation, then take the opportunity to do more, much more.

And if you don’t know where to start, ask for help. Join the Diversity Council of Australia to access its informative resources or visit the Australian Human Resources Institute for its practical D+I information. Many industry bodies also have resources in this area that are publicly available.

This article was written by Lisa Stockwell and was originally published on Cambenhrconsulting.com.au

If this is an issue in your workplace contact our expert team who can help to support your diversity and inclusion strategy.

Our workshops include Equally Yours Diversity and Inclusion Training, which offers a unique experience that not only builds confidence and knowledge across D&I, but is also a great workshop experience for team building and leadership development, where you will take away practical tools for D&I business solutions. Register for a free demo.

View our events page which includes details of our forthcoming programs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane including Developing Inclusive Leaders Workshops.

If you are looking to improve diversity and inclusion in your organisation visit our blog for some useful information and resources.

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