Sexual harassment of carer

Cases

Sexual harassment of carer

Mental distress caused by sexual innuendo is sufficient to constitute sexual harassment.

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Key point: Mental distress caused by sexual innuendo is sufficient to constitute sexual harassment.

Detail: The Qld Anti-Discrimination Tribunal has noted that the responsibility of the Mr Horne (respondent) under the Act was diminished because the respondent was identifiable as someone without perfect insight.

In any event, it was not demonstrated that the respondent was incapable of understanding what he was doing or saying and some of his remarks were not consistent with that degree of mental disability.

Mr Horne was born on 21 August 1923. In 2001 he employed Susanne Winkler as a carer. He has diabetes and hypertension with mild dementia probably associated with atherosclerotic cerebral arteries. Susanne Winkler was employed by Mr Horne as a casual personal carer from 10 July 2001 to 20 September 2001. She cared for Mr Horne mostly at his residence.

On several occasions Mr Horne made sexual references about Ms Winkler's appearance.

The respondent dismissed Ms Winkler and said he would not pay her monies owing as she had not given him what he wanted. It seems to the tribunal that the likelihood was that he was referring to his veiled sexual advances in her direction.

It was inherent in the nature of her casual employment that Mr Horne was effectively entitled to terminate Ms Winkler’s employment on short notice or without notice.

Compensation ordered was $500.

See: Winkler v Horne [2004] QADT 4 (19 February 2004) - QADT.

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