Director and owner convicted over workplace bullying

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A Melbourne director and his security company have been convicted and fined $116,250 for bullying workers.

The director and his company were sentenced in the Broadmeadows Magistrates Court on Friday following a guilty plea to one charge of failing to provide a working environment that was, as far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.

He was fined $19,250 and the company a further $97,000.

The court heard that WorkSafe Victoria was called to the company’s office in Cheltenham because of an incident in October 2015 where the director pushed an employee along a corridor in front of other workers.

In a second incident, the director refused to allow an employee to leave the office until she assured him, she would not resign following the first incident.

Investigation revealed that between April 2015 and August 2016, the director led a culture of entrenched bullying at the workplace. This included speaking to workers in an aggressive and intimidating manner by raising his voice, swearing, and using sexist and racist language to describe his employees.

He also made sexually suggestive comments towards his workers, threatened to withhold and take away their security licenses, made inappropriate contact with them, and encouraged a culture of managers speaking aggressively to employees.

“Under no circumstances is it acceptable for managers or directors to abuse their position of power by acting aggressively or inappropriately towards employees,” said Mr. Nielsen.

“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.”

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