A Melbourne director and his security company have been convicted and fined a total of $116,250 for repeatedly bullying employees in the workplace.
John Bernard Moncrieff and Monjon (Australia) Pty Ltd were sentenced in the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court on Friday after pleading guilty to one charge each of failing to provide a working environment that was, as far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.
Moncrieff was fined $19,250 and Monjon a further $97,000. The court heard that WorkSafe was called to the company’s Cheltenham office following an incident on October 23, 2015, in which Moncrieff pushed an employee along a corridor in front of other workers. In a second incident Moncrieff refused to allow an employee to leave the office until she assured him she would not resign following the first incident.
WorkSafe’s investigation found that between April 2015 and August 2016, Moncrieff led a culture of entrenched bullying at the company. The court heard this included Moncrieff speaking to employees 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 employees, threatened to withhold pay and take away their security licenses, made inappropriate contact with them, and encouraged a culture of managers speaking aggressively to employees.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said there was no excuse for inappropriate 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,” Ms Nielsen 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.” To prevent bullying in the workplace employers should:
- Have a workplace policy and procedures for bullying.
- Communicate and promote workplace bullying policies.
- Regularly train employees on workplace bullying and inappropriate behaviour.
- Encourage the reporting of workplace bullying.
- Address reports of workplace bullying as early as possible.
- Provide prompt assistance and support to their employees.
Source: WorkSafe Victoria