Factbox: Australia’s inquiry into sexual harassment in mining
By Praveen Menon and Byron Kaye
SYDNEY (Reuters) – An Australian state government inquiry into abuse in the mineral-rich west has found the mining industry perpetuated a culture that led to women being subject to frequent sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Women have long complained of sexual harassment in so-called “fly in, fly out” (FIFO) mining camps, temporary accommodation set up at remote mines to house workers.
Here is a list of the key findings and recommendations after the inquiry by the government of Western Australia:
-Women in the mining industry frequently have to deal with sexual harassment and sexual assault
-A broad range of unlawful and criminal behaviour was ignored or overlooked by employers
-FIFO camps had all major risk factors for sexual harassment like poor culture, gender inequality and power disparity in the workplace
-Managers and supervisors were seeking sexual favours from women in exchange for promotions or permanent employment
-When people are found to have behaved unacceptably, there has been a practice of ‘moving them on’ rather than dismissing them, allowing them to continue in the industry
-Women are under-represented in the mining industry, making up 19.1% of the total work force. This figure has remained largely unchanged since 2008.
-All companies that appeared before the committee stated that sexual harassment was unacceptably prevalent in the industry.
-Company statements of regret were sincere but limited, and rarely included accepting responsibility for allowing the situations to arise.
-The failure of companies to understand what was happening in their work places must be seen as a sign of corporate failure
-Industry regulator failed to record widespread cases
-Government consider establishing a forum to hear and document experiences of victims, and explore opportunities for redress, such as apologies, compensation
-Mining and other resources companies need to ensure serious
repercussions, including dismissal, for any person who has attempted to seek sexual favours for advantage and that all proper legal actions will be taken against them
-Industry must explore setting up an industry-wide workers’ register or other mechanism, taking into account natural justice considerations
-Mining companies must as a minimum implement moderate drinking standards for all FIFO accommodation sites
-Industry should ensure that sexual harassment and assault training is accredited, fit-for-purpose, and delivered by suitable practitioners. Training should be mandatory and
ongoing for all employees.
(Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)