Alleged sexual harassment not established

Cases

Alleged sexual harassment not established

The Federal Magistrates Court has dismissed a worker’s claim that she was sexually harassed by her supervisor, finding there was no evidence for her allegations and considerable time had passed before she made a complaint.

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The Federal Magistrates Court has dismissed a worker’s claim that she was sexually harassed by her supervisor, finding there was no evidence for her allegations and considerable time had passed before she made a complaint.

The proceedings commenced in the Federal Magistrates Court following termination of a complaint made to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

The worker commenced working in the 'Office to Go' project conducted by Mission Australia as part of the work for the dole program.

Evidence lacked credibility

In dismissing the application the Magistrate found that the worker's evidence lacked credibility, as she was evasive and unresponsive to questions and at other times provided gratuitous information.
Her evidence was inconsistent and she displayed a somewhat aggressive demeanour. The supervisor was responsive to questions, consistent in the information he provided and impressed as a witness of truth.

It was clear that the worker had many opportunities to make a complaint about the alleged sexual harassment she received from the supervisor.

The Court concluded that the worker behaved in a belligerent and aggressive way with respect to the supervisors and the other participants in the scheme and on the evidence before his Honour he was satisfied that none of the alleged sexual harassment took place. Even if it occurred, much of the conduct complained of was not conduct of a sexual nature or intimidatory.

The Court noted: 'In my view it is inconceivable that if Ms Treacy had been hurt, offended or humiliated by Mr Williams [supervisor] in the way that she alleged that she would have made no complaint until mid 2005 and I simply do not accept that the allegations have any substance at all...'

Treacy v Williams [2006] FMCA 1336 (7 September 2006)-Federal Magistrates Court (Connolly FM)

 

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