Crikey



Will sexual harassment cost DJs $37m?

A $37 million sexual harassment claim launched against David Jones and its former chief executive Mark McInnes may have sent shockwaves through Australia’s business community, but experts say it is highly unlikely that former David Jones publicist Kristy Fraser-Kirk will receive anything like that in a payout.

Fraser-Kirk, who launched her explosive case with a press conference in Sydney yesterday, is seeking compensation for breach of contact, loss and damages. But in a highly unusual move, Fraser-Kirk, through her law firm Harmers, is also suing David Jones, McInnes and the company’s board for punitive damages, alleging that the company engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct under the Trade Practices Act by claiming that McInnes alleged harassment of Fraser-Kirk was an isolated incident.

While Fraser-Kirk was only employed by David Jones between mid-2008 and June 2010, she is seeking punitive damages of 5% of David Jones’ profits for the seven years McInnes was chief executive (estimated at $35 million) plus 5% of McInnes’ salary during that period (estimated at $2 million).

However, legal experts have cast doubt on the size of the claim, pointing to the fact that the largest ever court judgement for s-xual harassment was $466,000, awarded in June last year in a case involving Hickinbotham Group (which recently lost an appeal against the case).

Punitive damages claims — which are awarded by a judge in situations where the court wants to set a deterrent for the community — are extremely rare in Australia.

Workplace lawyer Peter Vitale says the case can be seen as a further step towards a more American style of litigation, where there have been punitive damage payouts in the millions for s-xual harassment cases.

It reflects some importation of an American attitude to litigation. The merits of the case often take a back seat to the perceptions of the conduct of the defendant, with punitive damages intended to punish the defendant,” he says.

The Australian courts take a very different view to the American courts to punitive damages. It should be noted that a lot of those awards in the US are made by juries, and are often later limited on appeal.”

The decision to name the David Jones directors as defendants in the case also goes towards a trend of personally prosecuting directors.

Vitale says this can be seen in the way the Fair Work Ombudsman is chasing directors for underpayments, and in a recent case where a group of union have launched legal action against the director of a collapsed company, seeking to recover lost entitlements.

In relation to employment matters generally we are starting to see a greater willingness to have a go at directors personally,” Vitale says.

Lawyers are clearly trying to drive home that the directors are responsible for the conduct of the company.”

Gerard Phillips, a lawyer in Middletons’ workplace relations and safety practice, has described the case as “unprecedented” and has also questioned the sheer size of the claim.

“Normally one gets large judgements in cases or large settlements where you’ve got really two things: high earnings and total incapacity for work for a long period of time. It seems, just from reading the media, that that’s not the case here,” he told ABC radio.

It certainly is an unprecedented claim and it’s unprecedented in terms of a claim for percentages of the business’s turnover and the executive salary.”

There may even be some risk to the strategy employed by Fraser-Kirk and Harmers. The sheer size of the claim —   in its dollar value and the fact it names David Jones’ entire board as defendants — means David Jones is likely to follow through on its promise to “vigorously defend” the case, rather than settle.

If Fraser-Kirk was to lose, that could mean she is liable to face some big legal bills, given the sheer number of lawyers who are now likely to become involved.

However, it should be pointed out that Harmers has been very successful in running big s-xual harassment cases in the past, most notably with former PricewaterhouseCoopers employee Christina Rich, who settled an $11 million harassment claim against the accounting firm for an estimated $5 million-$6 million.

Vitale expects David Jones preference would be to settle, and settle confidentially.

There is a very good chance we’ll never, ever know what the result was.”

The launch of Fraser-Kirk’s claim, on the eve of David Jones spring/summer fashion shows, was clearly calculated for maximum impact on the company.

Her statement of claim describes in detail the chain of events that led to the alleged harassment.

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61 Responses

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  1. There is something spurious about the claimant’s claims that she will donate any punitive damages which she receives to a charity which deals with sexual harassment and workplace bullying.
    There is no such charity in Australia.

    DJ’s acted swiftly to get rid of the perpetrator and it stood by the victim vowing to support her in her position and in her prospects for career advancement within the company. She won the battle for hearts and minds at that stage. She won the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Her integrity and her honour were vindicated. The perpetrator lost in a big way.

    Now, it looks like she is more interested in winning a jackpot than being adequately compensated for her distress or sending out a message about bullying and sexual harassment to all and sundry.

    by John on Aug 3, 2010 at 1:35 pm

  2. 100% sure they will settle out of court.

    There is NO WAY David Jones will allow this to come out in court. You can bank that.

    Too damaging for their brand, image and reputation of some high profile Directors (aka John Coates, Olympic Boss to name one).

    by Robertson on Aug 3, 2010 at 1:50 pm

  3. I believe the astronomical amount was designed to be shocking - it gets the story into the papers and makes DJ’s think ‘Shit, we better settle this fast’.

    All that being said, his behaviour is appalling and his name is mud as far as I’m concerned, but for every woman that feels aggreived and takes these steps, there are many more who see it as a career move, or, at worst (best?) giggle it off like a school girl and a playful slap on the hand. If they stood up to these lecherous bastards and put them in their place quickly and publicly this behaviour might cease.

    by abarker on Aug 3, 2010 at 2:04 pm

  4. The timing of the announcement had absolutely nothing to do with it being the day DJs was supposed to roll out their summer collection. Of course not.

    The fact that this made the front page of most metro daily’s, thereby despatching any good DJ’s news to the back pages, was surely a happy coincidence.

    Moral of this story, don’t start a war with a professional Media / PR / Publicist person, they know how to extract maximum media attention (it’s their job after all).

    by Michael James on Aug 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm

  5. I don’t know how Bob Savage can survive this with his credibility intact. It beggars belief that he could have been unaware of his CEO’s reputation.

    I hope the case goes to trial and all of the evidence is aired publicly.

    by Socratease on Aug 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm

  6. @Socratease.

    Agree with you 100% mate. But it won’t go to trial believe me. When the details come out it will be UGLY. The Board know that and so does the Fraser-Kirk and he lawyers. There are many witnesses who could be called and it will be UGLY.

    by Robertson on Aug 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm

  7. About time someone stood up to inappropriate behaviour. Good on her. I have experienced and witnessed many inappropriate things during my 16 years in corporate life. I haven’t been brave enough to do what Kristy has done. She is doing me a favour…I can hope to go to the office Christmas party without being worried about being felt up by a male colleague who has had a few drinks…..maybe? Can I?

    by cwykamp on Aug 3, 2010 at 2:29 pm

  8. It beggars belief that David Jones, who are so intensly protective of their ‘brand’ had not pushed McInnes years ago - he was an accident waiting to happen.
    Then again their brand maybe aint what it was now they have a Credit Card. What’s the next PR disaster - neo-nazies working at Bondi Junction store ?

    by Pablo999 on Aug 3, 2010 at 2:29 pm

  9. Good on you Kristy! I admire your courage and pleased to see your family support you. This is 2010. The women’s movement has been struggling against this type of harassment for decades. A 12 month survey by 2 women in my area(2 adjoining cities) that also included women from the Tablelands etc, revealed, that sexual harassment is experienced by 20% of women - almost as bad as domestic violence and sexual assault. This survey was undertaken in 1997/8 but in a recent survey undertaken by the dept against Discrimination found, that the incidence is just as bad as over 10 yrs ago. 5% of victims are men. Enough!

    While I’m limited re finances via living on a pension, I won’t be setting foot in David Jones due to this disgraceful situation.

    @CWYKAMP - I hope so too! I think the secret might be, to ensure that your female colleagues stick together. Don’t go anywhere alone, and always drink, congregate etc in pairs at least - arrive and leave in company. It should also be noted, that like domestic violence and other acts of sexual abuse, the goal of perpetrators is not sexual fulfillment, it’s about power. The lower the perceived ‘status’ of the victim, the more likely they are to be abused. I think it should be pointed out at every opportunity, that this sort of abuse is a crime! And should be treated as such!

    by Liz45 on Aug 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm

  10. Liz45 you are so right with your last para, something many people (particularly men) don’t realise. Sleazebags don’t try this on women who are equal or above them in the workplace pecking order.

    by SusieQ on Aug 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm

  11. @SUSIE Q - Sadly yes. I’m sure like me, you just get so sick of hearing of yet one more case of abuse. I’d hoped that in 2010 the message might be getting through. Most other crimes, including crimes of violence such as robbery etc have decreased in NSW over the past couple of years; BUT all crimes of violence against women and kids have increased! Not until more men decide to speak out against their mates, family member etc, that these sorts of crimes will not be tolerated by them, then we won’t make much headway. Sadly,there’s too many people out there who either just accept this, or think it’s just part of ‘men being men’?

    ANYONE WHO’S INTERESTED! Below is the link to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission web site. There’s lots of information about this issue here, including a link to the latest survey results. What to do and where to go for help!

    http://www.hreoc.gov.au/sexualharassment/index.html

    Disturbing’ findings on rape, domestic violence
    Updated Wed Apr 7, 2010 10:11am AEST

    A national survey suggests one in four Australians believe that women falsify or exaggerate claims of rape and domestic violence.

    Research for the Changing Cultures, Changing Attitudes report was undertaken by VicHealth for the Federal Government.

    VicHealth researcher Melanie Heenan says Australian attitudes about violence against women have changed for the better since the last report card in 1995.

    Today more men and women understand that it includes physical and sexual violence, but that it also includes other forms such as social and emotional abuse, financial abuse,” she said.

    But Ms Heenan says some of the findings are disturbing.

    Some of the findings that referred to the extent to which men and women will still excuse violence, especially in situations where the perpetrator later regrets their behaviour or where they suggest the violence occurred out of anger, are still disturbing,” she said.

    Ms Heenan says the other concern is that a third of men and women believe men rape because of their uncontrollable sex drive.

    That was one of those attitudes that I thought would have shifted more readily over time,” she said.

    We’ve still got a lot to do in terms of educating young people and others in the community that rape myths like that have no place in a society that says it wants a zero-tolerance level in relation to violence against women.”
    ************

    The results of the survey are disturbing but hopeful, as they’re better than the survey of ten years or more ago. It does show that the attitudes are still showing ingrained and sexist assumptions that make it difficult for women to take action. Sexual harassment in the workplace is just another manifestation of this and education/awareness and then public repugnance is the only way it’ll stop - like driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is now. That took some time, but it’s no longer considered smart to commit this crime these days! We shouldn’t laugh at sexual harassment or diminish the harmful impact on victims.
    http://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/~/media/ResourceCentre/PublicationsandResources/NCAS_CommunityAttitudes_report_2010.ashx

    this is the link to the Report.

    by Liz45 on Aug 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm

  12. I recall reporting sexual harassment against young women at Wyong, each on 3 months with the fast food shop. If they didn’t come across he got paid for the next one. The response from the social sec. type “what do you expect US to do????” There’s no doubt that predatory males are not “isolated incidents” as “heat seeking missiles” any woman is fairgame and the more vulnerable by position the better!!..or the easier. As for following the American model…perhaps leech lawyers do that. The American “justice” system is as vicious as its military system no ideas of rehab just “take themout”. It’s a sstem that begins with people often enough uniformed bullies or “vigilantes” with no care for balance and ends up in a courtroom like Justice Redmond’s. One commenter said “jackpot”…was she approached by some other person too take that stance?…solicited, even?

    One recent example was a woman receiving 9 years forsexual intercourse with her adult long-before-adopted son…consenting, as it happened two or three times, as though that is some type of heinous crime rather than a situation needing care and counselling.Netween the “primitive” view of get fined and both get on with life and the apalling “stone them” of the old jews and todays muslims is a large gap.Sexual crime is not inherently of itself life threatening but is often accompanied by drugs, threats bashing an/or murder. In the case at point I don’t know the whole story.

    I do know that a man in his position is still dictated-to by his testosterone. We have recently seen copious excuses for the sexual assault/gang bang of a woman by footballers, not one of whom received punishment and one of whom is still a lauded member of the football culture.He was severly punished by the media by being given a lucrative “footy show”…the hypocrisy is staggering. The media and the civilian beasts like to persecute forever, destroy the lives of, risk the results of pushing them over the line of pedophiles and other sexual deviants but a footie player…oh, poor baby!

    Is the life of a CEO much different from a competitve footballer?..except that he is expected to be able to speak the Queens English and have something like two hemispheres in proximity and connected.

    So we come to the punitive, yes I agree the CEO should be fittingly punished but on that basis
    the offended party is not seeking to have him taken off the stree, just to come up with $37 million (plus costs?). He deserves,prima facie , to have his tail kicked, but again what’s the whole story? I know charges of sexual assault have been given against totally innocent parties so we have to be careful. Yes the warning is there, yes it engages both in costs comensurate with defence of such a claim unless insurance covers it.Yes it’s a warning to the whole industry of predatory bosses but will it get up for the sum asked?…virtually not a chance in fact it’s almost vexatious.

    Sexual harassment is not unknown in legal offices or in judicial courts. It’s not “a bolt from the blue”..nevertheless she is entitled to not be harassed or assaulted, end of story.A man must never be not able to say “no”, there is no excuse for definite signals of “no” being ignored yet how often in the films does one see “no” meaning “yes” and for people who read sexual magazines all “she’s” waiting for is the tradesman/salesman/ doctor/criminal etc to be willing to put her under pressure so she can “give in”.Try to stop that brings howls of “censorship” from people who try to purport these films have no adverse impact.

    There’s no indicator in this article of sexual activity other than fantasy and unwelcome touches and vulgarity and there is a question, may have a simple and quite reasonable answer, aas to why she didn’t warn him the first time she’d go to the police… or smack his face or take immediate action. but there is of assault and endangering her health.

    It seems prima facie that the director and David Jones are culpable of not taking due care of her. He,as a CEO implimenting Board directives had a strong duty of care of her. On the other hand other unreported assaults also take therir place in the line-up both in empowering him and in the shocking event that the women didn’t feel enthusiasm would be felt by the Board. The Board ought to have a system in place which detects such events and were they aware of his previous actions with other women they certainly deserve professional and personal damages if not , in my view, incarceration. Who knows the full extent of this story when it comes to the Board.

    I kno personally of a chap, innocent, bashed by Police in front of hs children and struggled and resisted threats and legal resistance to end up getting $17,500. On the face of it that’s a dar worse crime than these more “lightweight” assaults..which could I grant you have become severe.

    I think “community attitudes” on pornography, sex and violence in cartoons, brutal sexual violence in fims allowed into the country, gives a very open door to people getting off on it and feeling free to act out what they see, To speak of guilt in those matters is a guilt the community must bear in my view for its slovenly morality.Cartoon loaded with violence and sometimes sexual innuendo have become TV babysitters from almost birth.Is a person growing to be a man or woman supposed not to have been affected? to have balance?

    I think another aspect is “why” didn’t those women claiming later that it wasn’t an isolated case, warn her at the outset?..why are they also not being prosecuted? Is that because they may be giving evidence in her favour? I hope that in praising them the judge also reminds them of what action they should have taken, free of any slander or libel charge by the offender.Robert savage may or may not have known or suspected the allegations against the offender were not ‘first time’ and again his board needs a good boot up the tail because as with OH and S . there should be a plan and a system in place to recognise hazards, assess risks and take every possible action to avoid them. I once worked for DJ’s an even back then proper supervision against personal and sexual haeassment did not existm by the same token the cancer endemic today rotting holes in decent behaviour and the big red light for “sexual expressiveness” was not evident then,

    In closing, matters like this should not be the subject of secret agreements and settlement. The core of the agreement, the why’s and the court’s comments should be made public. From then on the public should all stand back and let people get on with their lives…..and I extrapolate that to released deviants or “criminals” depending on your view of law. The sickness permeating the media and a great number of people to harass people who’s punishment is done is one no effort is made to cure. In Scotland around 1995/6 that cost the lives of several chidren when citizens drovea released offender into insanity.

    by Blowtorch on Aug 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm

  13. Is everyone she is suing just going to roll over? Being such a largish sum (probably the strategy, for maximum exposure) are they all just going to agree to cough up a few million each? Surely unlikely that they will all just sit down together and agree to do so. Lack of legal precedent seems pretty irrelevant under the (publicly) unprecedented circumstances.

    by Salamander on Aug 3, 2010 at 4:56 pm

  14. LIZ: On this point we have to differ.

    This is nothing to do with any of the worthwhile causes you are on about.

    This is one money hungry little bint-publicity is her business, for God’s sake. Who got a job at DJ’s sussed out the lie of the land, played the man like a fish, then sent in the lawyers.

    What an obscene amount of money she’s after.

    BEFORE ANYONE sails in no nail me for lacking feminine sensitivities. I WOULD ASK ONE QUESTION. (If anyone can answer the question I might think about backing down)

    THE QUESTION IS THIS: How many unmarried, twenty-five year old women not only know a solicitor, but know one who specialises in matters like these?

    by Venise Alstergren on Aug 3, 2010 at 5:33 pm

  15. PS: Remember, she had a solicitor lined up before he made the second pass at her.

    by Venise Alstergren on Aug 3, 2010 at 5:36 pm

  16. @SALAMANDER - I hope it goes to court, but being realistic, I don’t think it will. I just hope she’s aware of the ‘dirty tricks’campaign that will be used against her by the defendants legal team. I know what they’re like re just wanting weekly workers compensation payments; or those women who were gang raped in 2000! Just appalling! The focus will be preventing any monies being paid to her, and the action will probably be awful. I hope she has witnesses who are ready to go as far as need be(they’ll be intimidated too?) and her family keep her close to them and not allow her to go through any of this alone! They’ll insist on psychiatric reports, to try and make her out to be ????a liar, exaggerating?Who knows?

    When I was co-ordinating support groups(2) for women with RSI there was a variety of tactics that employers and insurance companies would use to intimidate women and try and scare them off. Tailing women in their cars to doctor’s appointments; visiting parents or adult children and going to the shops etc. A few women had people with cameras jumping out at them in their front yards or their neighbours taking photos of them with their grocery purchases etc.The workers medical centre resorted to asking ‘big built blokes’ to question drivers, as to why these vehicles were parked outside etc. Amazing! I was educated I can tell you! Shocked and stunned by the antics used to demean and vilify these women!

    One woman who visited her employer to ask for light duties, parked her small vehicle in the car park of a major shopping centre where she worked. When she came out, her car was missing. She finally found it in another section - other employees, on the boss’s request, picked it up with a fork lift and moved it - just to give her THE MESSAGE! She was nearly hysterical by this time - she thought it had been stolen! Her income was stopped due to the insurance company’s refusal to acknowledge her injury; she had 2 school age kids, a mortgage, in awful pain etc! Bastards!

    It’s a real eye opener into the tactics used to prevent justice - particularly if money is involved. There’s a HUGE amount of money in this instance! I hope her legal people have warned her of how tough it could be, and probably will be! Let’s hope I’m wrong! You might think, that these actions must be illegal? Surely this would be stopped? No, it wasn’t then, and I know the same tactics are still used now! I think it’s called ‘testing the claims’ - their right?

    by Liz45 on Aug 3, 2010 at 5:42 pm

  17. Venise seems to think the complainant should have sued for an inoffensive amount of money, done it quietly, politely and discreetly (or at least not on a fashion launch day, for minimum publicity) and used the most low-profile, inexperienced solicitor she could find. Well that sounds like a familiar prescription - a very ladylike strategy. A considerate and kind strategy to ensure that by 2020 men would still be abusing their power in the workplace. Give me a break Venise.

    by Salamander on Aug 3, 2010 at 6:00 pm

  18. SALAMANDER: No, you give me a break. I asked a question to which you gave no reply.

    This case has as much to do with female abuse as I have to nuclear physics. Nothing, nada.

    The next time you want to unload your sexist venom onto me do so without resorting to humour (?)

    by Venise Alstergren on Aug 3, 2010 at 6:35 pm

  19. Just in case ANYONE OUT THERE IS REALLY CONCERNED WITH THE VERY REAL ISSUES OF FEMALE ABUSE ponder the following point.

    This greedy little bint has just set back the previous gains made by women by fifty years.

    by Venise Alstergren on Aug 3, 2010 at 6:41 pm

  20. This whole case is a bit on the nose. Surely she had an idea she was getting involved in something a bit dodgy when she was the only one under 30 anywhere near the manager. While it is clearly his responsibility to act in a professional manner, I feel that suing someone for $37M is completely laughable when it is a young and beautiful woman inexplicably involved professionally with someone far more senior than what would normally be the case, especially when he has such a shockingly bad and allegedly well known reputation for this kind of thing. Perhaps she should have looked at the job situation with a grain of salt before she entered it, rather than entering a known dodgy situation to start with.

    People have made uncomfortable passes at me before, and I don’t really care $37M worth.

    Is this agreeable or am I missing the point?

    by HughG on Aug 3, 2010 at 7:18 pm

  21. Sorry, when i said manager of course I meant CEO… I would kind of tend to suspect it was a well executed opportunistic thing rather than a genuine case of an innocent little lamb…

    by HughG on Aug 3, 2010 at 7:22 pm

  22. VENISE: To answer your question, I can think of many scenarios where a single 25 year old woman would know a solicitor specialising in harrassment claims.
    1. She could have a family member or friend who works in the area or has otherwise had cause to engage a solicitor or even just know about harrassment claims
    2. She could have studied this area as part of her education. (I did legal studies in Year 10 and learnt enough in that 1 semester to know where to go and how to go about it if I needed to engage a solicitor of any speciality)
    3. She could have been so freaked out by the first incident that she did some research or was encouraged by family and friends to do some research
    4. She could be an avid fan of the myriad of legal/crime shows on tv and have learnt it all from there (including the US style litigation techniques of multi-million dollar payouts)
    5. She could have been a previous victim of a crime (child sexual abuse, mugging etc.) and as a consequence be hypervigilant about the law and her rights
    6. GOOGLE

    Anyway, you (hopefully) see my point. There are just so many ways in which she could have found a solicitor who specialises in this area without it being so sinister as to suggest that she knew them beforehand and has been setting this in motion for a long time in order to somehow gain financially.

    SO, HERE’S A COUNTER QUESTION FOR YOU:
    Why would anyone who clearly has the full support of family and friends (and is therefore quite likely a sane and rational person who is not prone to a mental illness or just plain foolishness) pursue a legal case against a company/person if to do so and lose would mean she is basically in debt for life?

    Surely, the fact that she has decided to pursue this indicates she has a strong case regardless of what you think of her motives.

    On your other point of suggesting that she has set back the women’s movement by fifty years I respectfully reject your hypothesis and insert my own: By publicly standing up to a large corporation and letting Australia know that it is not ok to treat women like objects and playthings she is finally allowing the ‘women’s movement’ to take a leap forward.

    And if the scare that DJ’s is having right now forces other corporations to evaluate their own policies and improve on them so they can cover their arses, well that’s a huge benefit.

    I can guarantee there will be more than a few Managers across the country who are evaluating their own behaviour and wondering if they will be next.

    Sadly, I’m sure there are just as many who are having a laugh that the ‘poor bugger’ got caught.

    by purpleolive on Aug 3, 2010 at 7:51 pm

  23. @Venise Alstergren
    My point is that if you are going to take on your boss the CEO, you can’t do it in kid gloves. I have only media reports to go on, but my take is as follows: I would assume that suing for an obscene amount (nevertheless within the range of many CEOs’ “remuneration packages”) puts on pressure for the case to be fought rather than settled out of court and swept under the rug.

    A court case would ensure maximum publicity for what has occurred - would this not be a positive for women’s rights? So on my interpretation the complainant is a heroine not a greedy opportunist, and your lawyer question is irrelevant.

    I take issue with your accusing me of “sexist venom”. My caricature of “traditionally feminine” traits as ineffectual in this situation is not sexist. Assertiveness, intelligent calculation, and being willing and able to take up the fight for one’s rights are surely womanly qualities.

    by Salamander on Aug 3, 2010 at 8:03 pm

  24. Sorry Purpleolive, Im not sure I want to get involved in this big argument, but its just all very suspicious how this whole thing came about in the first place.
    Of course its not OK to treat women like objects. This is an almost universally accepted truth (yes there are still bigots and idiots in the world) - and if people see it happening it should definitely be nipped in the bud, just deserts should also definitely be delivered.

    However in the case that there is someone who is known to have terrible self control and dubious morals, it is not acceptable to entrap them into a carefully planned opportunistic highly profitable legal battle all over the popular media - and then claim it is not an opportunistic money grab, rather a step for womens rights. I am not saying that is what has happened here, but I think it would be highly inadvisable to jump on the side of the young woman in question purely because allegedly she was the victim.

    To any real young women out there who are gorgeous looking and actually considering working in a job which is far more senior than what they would expect, with a known sexual deviant my suggestion is this: Dont take a job up if you think youre getting it based on anything other than your qualifications or professional networking etc. If someone is employing you because you’re a babe, then its not likely to get you much respect one way or another. It most certainly does NOT mean its ok for someone to make passes at you, however if I was a judge, and I saw you in that situation - I probably wouldnt be inclined to reward you with $37M. I would be more likely to award you some sort of money and say ‘you are a very silly girl who should not have taken up such a questionable offer’ .

    by HughG on Aug 3, 2010 at 8:10 pm

  25. another thing that strikes me as odd about this case is the lack of annonymity. In most cases like this I believe anonymity of the victim would be seen as advantageous to the victim’s future career. It would prevent future employers regarding a woman as “the sexual discrimination one” and being dropped off shortlists.
    However this girl has gone straight for the mainstream media.
    In terms of this being of real benefit to women generally, surely it would be of more benefit to women if she pursued the case with integrity and discretion, and after success discussed the issue more openly or even still annonymously?

    Personally if I was invovled in a case like this, I most certainly would not want my face splashed across tabloids like the sydney morning herald for everyone to see.

    None of it really adds up.

    by HughG on Aug 3, 2010 at 8:26 pm

  26. Liz45.
    Im frankly astounded. Why would women who suffer RSI require support that men with RSI do not require? RSI is very debilitating, but no more so for women than men. That to me sounds completely bizarre. Mind you - you’re actively invovled in it and I’m not so I guess you probably know a reason why, and I’m just oblivious (though I’d love to know a good reason why women and not men would require special support - and being the modern pro-feminism man that I am, I will not entertain the idea that women are in some way more feeble than men).

    But as to intimidatory tactics being used specifically against women. I find that an absolutely incredulous statement - you are definitely blurring issues here. Women and men alike would be overwhelmed by those intimidatory tactics - what does it have to do with gender? This is just silly.

    by HughG on Aug 3, 2010 at 8:38 pm

  27. This woman had been working for DJ’s for a year before the first incident happened, so I am very doubtful that she was employed specifically by him. If that were the case he surely would have started in before 12 months were up.

    More likely she was hired through HR based on her qualifications and yes perhaps her looks as well, but that hardly seems unreasonable for a publicist for a fashion-based company.

    What is unreasonable, is to suggest that anyone, male or female, should have to avoid or decline a dream job opportunity because someone higher up the chain engages in lecherous activities. There is no excuse for this behaviour and why should a woman in the prime of her chosen profession be now derided for having the courage to stand up and say enough is enough. Can you seriously tell me that we would be having the same discussion if this were a male employee and a female CEO?

    I agree with SALAMANDER’s eloquently put assessment and I am sure the sum being sued for (5% of profits for the 7 years he was CEO) is purely designed to get the media to stand up and take notice. And don’t forget, it would be the lawyers that came up with that sum not Kristy.

    by purpleolive on Aug 3, 2010 at 8:39 pm

  28. @ Venise

    This greedy little bint has just set back the previous gains made by women by fifty years.”

    No, I disagree with this. You would have to believe that women’s rights have 50 years of advances to lose, and I’m not sure they have in Australia.

    by gef05 on Aug 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm

  29. I dont claim that SMH has much credibility, but I am most certainly not the only one who thinks this is an irregularity,
    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/people/a-touch-of-don-juan-in-the-ladies-department-20100620-ypbw.html

    Punitive damages are normally awarded as a deterrent and when the normally calculated actual award seems insubstantial (according to wikipedia).

    It is sad Purpleolive, but if an offer is too good to be true, then it probably is. In this case, it is more than likely if she wasnt a good looking girl, she most likely would not have been offered the job, and never have been harassed by the man in charge. It really could have been avoided by declining a suspicious and very senior position.

    If a female CEO made passes at me, I would certainly get in a huff about it, and the same if it was a male CEO, but I am not sure I would have approached things in such a public way as this girl has.

    Here is an article that will most probably get under your skin ;)
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/million-compo-a-bit-rich-no-matter-how-sleazy-the-serving/story-e6frfhqf-1225900231611

    and GEF05, as the son of a full time working mum who has a stellar career, and of a sister who is an amazing doctor, and the grandson of a woman who was one of the first women in her field. I must say you are absolutely insulting to womens rights and the amazing things so many wonderful and groundbreaking women who have inspired young men and women to push boundaries and ignore predjudices and challenge preconceived notions have acheived.

    Rather than trying to be sassy and clever, maybe you should try and think a bit about what it was like to be a woman 50 years ago.

    by HughG on Aug 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm

  30. Back to the beginning, folks…

    A young lady was employed to fulfil certain duties in a workplace. There are many laws about discrimination and assault which every manager and CEO are aware of and understand.

    The young lady has now claimed that her employer, through the CEO has breached its duties and that the CEO is implicated in a series of assault.

    The complainant has further contended that her attempts to ensure that she was neither harassed nor unsafe in the workplace resulted in practical change and that the objectionable behaviour continued.

    All of you, understand and think about this.

    Yes, think about this!

    If this young lady was my daughter or an acquaintance, I would introduce her to the very best lawyer I could find, unless she beat me to it herself.

    The corporation has had a chance to cease and desist. Its employee did not, despite complaint.

    The Board is responsible for the actions of the corporation, unless you believe that the Board is some kind of revolving cocktail party. It is there to govern the corporation, for goodness’ sake!

    Without in any way attempting to judge this matter, the actions of the complainant appear to me to be both reasonable and appropriate. Indeed, she quite possibly followed to the letter the corporate procedures for such situations. I have no doubt that this will be examined, as they say, in another place.

    Let the legal processes sort this out from here. No need for comparison with RSI, no need for sexist assumptions, no need for attempted humour. This is serious stuff and must be accorded the respect that it deserves.

    The only gripe I have is that private matters such as this can be settled out of court and are thus not reported. I wish the young lady well, as I also do DJ’s Board and all the rest of those caught up in this. It is a mess, from which nobody really wins.

    by John Bennetts on Aug 3, 2010 at 10:29 pm

  31. Those who object to the size of this claim are missing the point. The point is to put a stop to sexual abuse in the workplace once and for all. How long have these harassment laws been in place? Why is this still going on? And perpetrated by the CEO, if you please. And furthermore, as the heraldsun article referred to by HughG says:

    Most women who claim sexual harassment have to battle to be taken seriously, and are lucky to get a meagre payout to cover legal costs and lost income. Many lose their jobs, find it hard to get re-employed, and suffer both financially and emotionally.”

    This is meant to demonstrate that the present claim is over the top - because this complainant has not suffered enough compared to others who got peanuts by comparison! Well perhaps if substantial punitive damages had been awarded in some of the earlier cases….

    And HughG, someone has to take you to task over your bizarre notion that attractive women should reject their own job applications. I doubt your successful female relatives would think much of the idea, even be they all plain Janes. Job applicants these days have to meet and address the specified selection criteria in deadly detail otherwise they don’t even make it to interview. So at what point is this self-censoring supposed to occur? Research shows that one of the factors holding women back from senior positions is lack of self-confidence. Not sure how your prescription fits into the aim of increasing women’s participation. Imagine if men were expected to hold back in case they were too good-looking. I think it rather puts the onus for eliminating harassment on the wrong shoulders.

    That heraldsun article and others like it is simply a blatant exercise in discrediting the claimant. Who by the way is a woman, fully grown I believe, by no stretch a “silly little girl”.

    It is true there was more and more blatant anti-woman discrimination 50 years ago, including the obvious 25% less pay for exactly the same job. Vast improvements have been fought for and won. But the fact that even some Crikey readers are inclined to go along with the retrograde, scurrilous suspicion of a woman’s motives without evidence as purveyed in tabloid press populism casts doubt on the depth or security of the gains.

    An attractive young woman has the presumption to tackle illegal behaviour on the same terms as men who routinely deal with those who injure them by suing for significant monetary damages under the law. Money is power, so it may be predictable that demanding a lot of money for personal and professional injury is still not a mode of redress permitted to respectable women on their own behalf.

    Have women won and retained 50 years’ worth of the equality battle?

    by Salamander on Aug 3, 2010 at 11:01 pm

  32. Of course I am not saying that attractive people (be they male or female) should reject job offers because they are attractive.
    The point I am making is; the girl is seen by others in the work place as out of place as she is a very attractive and very YOUNG girl in a relatively SENIOR position close to the CEO - how does this make sense for a girl who could only have been out of university for two or three years to be given such a serious role in such a large business?
    The point I am trying to make by saying that is that with the man being known throughout the industry as a lecherous old bastard, she should have considered why she was offered the job rather than get herself in this mess in the first place.

    If it was your daughter - would you advise her “yeah go for the amazing job you have been offered even though it seems quite unsual you were offered it and you will be working closely with a known philanderer, I have absolutely no objections”?

    If my sister was applying for a job with someone who I thought was going to offer her job not because he wanted her expertise but because he wanted to look at her breasts, I wouldnt have to tell her to find a job in a better and more reputable place because she would come to the exact same conclusion herself.

    Its sad indeed, but nonetheless Id rather not get anyone I know involved in all this mess in the first place. Its on your own shoulders to look out for yourself, its a part of the responsibilities of being an adult. Its a shame that not everyone in the world is respectable, but I hardly think that paying out one girl $37M is going to stop big corporations from hiring bogans like this guy!

    by HughG on Aug 3, 2010 at 11:15 pm

  33. HUGHG:

    You have demonstrated that you are a pig.

    Your remark about your sister is the last straw. What right have you to form an opinion about something which is none of your business? Female, she may be, but she has a brain and the same rights as those of the other gender. Would you agree for this same sister to tell you to change jobs because your present one may offer you the opportunity to look at breasts of co-workers?

    Of course you would brush her comments aside, as I do your comments on this subject.

    You are effin’ strange.

    by John Bennetts on Aug 4, 2010 at 12:05 am

  34. mate, youre a fool if you think im a pig.
    She does have a brain and rights of her own. I am merely stating that she would never take up some dodgy job which is only being offered to her because some dodgy CEO wants to look at her breasts.

    Im not saying she should have changed jobs EVER I think that its stupid to think that anyone should have to change jobs in these circumstances. I just think its stupid she took the job in the first place considering how dubious it all appears to be.

    If she (my sister OR the girl in the media at the moment) asked me my advice: HughG should I take this job that is being offered to me despite the fact it is completely morally dubious because the guy is a known lecher, and hes probably going to spend the whole time checking out my rack?
    of course I would say “no, youre an amazing and clever woman, get a job where they will value your input not your gender”.

    by HughG on Aug 4, 2010 at 12:12 am

  35. HughG:

    What on Earth makes you so sure that she knew that her job was “completely morally dubious because the guy is a known lecher, and hes probably going to spend the whole time checking out my rack?”

    You are a sick puppy to even think this, let alone to put into print in a public forum.

    She clearly knew nothing of the sort and only became concerned after she was offended the first time. If this was not so, then she was fibbing, and you are certainly not in a position to know that.

    As I said - a matter for legal process.

    by John Bennetts on Aug 4, 2010 at 12:45 am

  36. @SALAMANDER - Agreed!

    @HUGH - If you’d done any research on RSI during the time that I referred to, you’d find that the overwhelming number of people affected were women. They were state and commonwealth public servants; outworkers who make clothes at home, women who worked in factories - usually on an assembly line set up - instead of making whole garments, which would’ve required several pauses and different needs via construction, they were doing piece bits - sewing the same seams on several/many garments for hours on end- repeititious and using same ergonomics and sets of muscles, tendons etc.

    I was a teachers aide, and we were the second highest(after people who operated data processors etc, mostly women) number of inflicted people in NSW - all women! Yes, men did have RSI including one of my own sons(he worked for a company that manufactured aluminium doors and windows, in a tin ‘shed - hot in summer and cold in winter - an added factor) but the overwhelming number were women. The pain and disability affected every aspect of life, including sex lives, looking after chn and babies etc. These were women’s issues, and women were more comfortable sharing with other women. That isn’t to say that I didn’t support men or that they weren’t welcome to come to the groups, but there was less than half a dozen that I knew of. No sheep stations where I live, so no shearers?They suffered too, and also from back injuries - they now use harnesses as a support, so hopefully they don’t suffer either condition these days.

    School cleaners; women who worked in canteens; check out operators and packers etc. Musicians, particularly piano players, bus drivers and people who drove people with disabilities to appointmens etc. Sadly, our textile industry has almost disappeared, and so women with RSI in those areas have gone. There are still sufferers who work in supermarkets such as packers and checkout operators etc, or do other repetitive type jobs.

    The reason I mentioned what happened to RSI sufferers was as an example of what companies will go to in order to stop any orders by judges re payment. They’ll do almost anything to vilify claimants. I have no reason to believe that they won’t stoop to the same tactics in this case - that’s how they operate. If you go to Court and listen to how an injured worker is treated by the barrister for the insurance companies, you’d be shocked! I was!

    The media had a campaign that was horrific. At one stage women sufferers were either committing some type of criminal actions for financial gain, or we were likened to witches of centuries ago, and at one stage were told that we were suffering from some ‘disease’ of hysteria on a grand scale. We suffered from “kangaroo paw”for example, shouted the headline in the papers Go back through the newspapers; the shock jocks, TV etc. There were at least two 4 Corners programs that were informative and without anti- bias, but the atmosphere was just damned awful. I don’t recall anything as revolting before then or since!

    It is a fact, that the demeaning of women over many years in order to lighten the validity of being the victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault are known to most women - paticularly women of a mature age. I find your sentiments most depressing!

    The point I am trying to make by saying that is that with the man being known throughout the industry as a lecherous old bastard, she should have considered why she was offered the job rather than get herself in this mess in the first place.

    This type of attitude is evidence of the ingrained sexist and unfair attitudes still in evidence today - sadly. So, if a woman is young but not attractive, she can expect to gain employment based on her abilities, but an attractive young woman should desist, as she is only inviting some lecherous bastard to commit a crime of sexual harassment or actual assault? And if he does, then she shouldn’t complain, as she ‘put herself in this position’? Mind boggling!

    You probably don’t have the same attitude to someone’s car being stolen, even if they forgot to lock it? If I have a nice home and somene breaks in, I’ve contributed to the crime because it’s nice and obviously well cared for have I? How about if an attractive woman is in a pub or club, does she contribute to the crime if someone smashes a glass in her face? Is she blamed? ‘If she wasn’t so attractive, that woman’s boyfriend wouldn’t have looked at her’? How do you explain the fact, that women in their 80’s are raped?

    Its sad indeed, but nonetheless Id rather not get anyone I know involved in all this mess in the first place. Its on your own shoulders to look out for yourself, its a part of the responsibilities of being an adult.Yeah, and as a responsible male adult, you should know what the laws are re sexual harassment and assault are. And if you’re in a responsible position of trust, you shouldn’t go around molesting employees!

    You’re obviously a bloke - I’m not, nor is Kristy - that’s the very reason why we’re abused/assaulted? If I was 6’ tall and a well built bloke instead of being 5’1/2” tall and of small boned structure, I might have some sort of ability to protect myself, so would Kristy! She’s not very big, and TV apparently makes you look bigger, so I’d say she’s pretty small? He was a fit man in his early/mid 40’s - no contest! My 2 eldest boys could pick me up chair and all when they were about 10 and 11 or so! They did it for a giggle!
    These blokes are gutless cowards - that’s why they don’t choose blokes or even women who are on their perceived level - they pick on people who can’t or won’t fight back. That’s what these sort of assaults are all about - power! It’s not about sex - he had a partner, who apparently is pregnant! What a fine upstanding citizen he is! It’s about power and the need to dominate!

    What about the injustice of him being able to keep his job? If this young woman had stolen money or goods, she probably would’ve been charged with a crime and/or sacked! I can’t believe that you could make her out to be a contributor to her assault. To touch another person’s body without their permission is an assault - particularly when the victim has said a plain and definite “NO”? What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?

    Gee, I’d hoped that we’d have moved on by now. It’s quite depressing! I have 3 grand-daughters who I encourage to be whatever and whoever they want to be. Just work hard at school and after and the world is yours. The only ‘thing’ a woman can’t be is a sperm donar, everthing else is attainable. I hope they don’t come in contact with you, or any bloke with your ideas, or they’d ‘drop their bundle’ quick smart I’d say. They’re smart and lovely to look at, stunning in fact! They ‘should feel ashamed’ should they? I’m glad their parents don’t think so!

    The money? Just a figure! 5% of his income during the time she was being harassed, and that of the company’s profit during the same time! The idea is to command interest; a punitive element, and to send DJ’s and other employers a strong message. Good for her! This company operated on their reputation, which I always thought was pretty good!(I don’t think that any more, and will not buy a thing from them in future). They’ve allowed this bloke to spoil that, so on their own heads, be it! Good for you Kristy!

    by Liz45 on Aug 4, 2010 at 12:46 am

  37. Fair enough that you think that John, but it doesnt make me a sick puppy to think that she may have known what she was getting involved in from the get go…

    She would have had an interview with him at the start and apparently other women in the department know that hes a dodgy dude.

    Look I think its inexcusable to behave the way he did.

    I just think the whole thing seems a bit fishy, and apparently from what Ive gleaned from various other articles other people who worked with her thought it was a bit bizarre someone so young and inexperienced was doing her job.

    I have no idea of the industry, but I know in my job I try and get a feeling for the team before approaching the leader to apply for a job, or accepting offers made to me.

    Youre right though, nothing is certain and it is a matter for the courts (or private settlement). Though I think debate would be pretty uninteresting if everyone had the same opinion.

    by HughG on Aug 4, 2010 at 12:54 am

  38. Mr HUGHG, are you implying the entire DJ’s HR department was pimping for the Old Man?

    Or are you saying that DJ’s is run so unprofessionally that the CEO goes around personally hiring pretty girls into roles they (according to you) are under qualified for, so that he has eye candy when ever he walks down the corridor? And by implication, that the Board and an entire HR department were running with that?

    To get a job a DJ’s usually there would be a vetting operation by several people. Thats how it goes at large companies. As a minimum, some HR folks plus her direct boss would have OK’d her. In addition, in this case, she worked as a temp for 2 months first, proving her credentials. I doubt all these people were thinking “yes, she’s pretty Mark will like her, just his type” and ignoring her work…

    As for your comment that she should have known he was a sleaze AND thus run from a secure high profile job in a tough economic climate - WELL WHY THE HELL SHOULD SHE! Why should she have to reject a job because this guy needs all women in black tents, else he gets distracted?

    By the way if you bump into Mark, our CEO, be advised he can’t keep his hands to himself, it’s up to you to warn him off, he’s the CEO and a legend and we LOVE him, so don’t offend or embarrass him him if you do reject his advances - remember it will be his word against yours; Welcome to DJ’s, An Equal Opportunity Employer!”

    What this guy apparently did to a more junior staff member who was simply not in a position to knee him where he clearly needs it - indecent foul language, inappropriate touching, implied requests for sexual favors - was a TOTAL power game. This wasn’t about sex, this was about control. Dunno about you, but I would have frozen in complete meltdown horror.

    And so to the $37M. It is silly - its intended to be! It’s intended to get media attention, and maybe just maybe reset the punishment level meted out to the people who abuse their positions in this way, and the companies that turn a blind eye - as DJ’s themselves pointed out in their paperwork, the court payouts in general are pathetic. The company gets a slap, the abuser gets a thump (no bruises though) and the abusee loses their job, their reputation, and likely their self respect.

    Kristy seems to have kept her head, followed correct procedures, and conducted herself with dignity. GO Kristy - I’m proud of yah!

    by Robyn on Aug 4, 2010 at 1:49 am

  39. I suppose I do think that DJs is run unprofessionally, in fact I think this whole debarcle is showing that to be the case (especially as the girl in question is not only raising a claim against the CEO, but the whole board).

    I dont know how people are hired into these positions, I know lots of big companies (the one I work for included) have HR departments, I am not suggesting that the whole company is saying lets get mark some young hottie.

    I guess your view is pretty sound, I just thought from what Ive read in various articles it just seemed to be all out of place somehow - and i suppose I do try to be the devils advocate, AND I thought the whole job just seemed to be a dodgy prospect from the start. I wouldnt take on a senior role with a sexual predator as a vulnerable young person, and I would discourage anyone else from doing so - just look at what has happened one way or another to this person. Not something I would wish on anyone, the front page of all the australian tabloids isnt the best place.

    by HughG on Aug 4, 2010 at 2:10 am

  40. I have no doubt McInnes is a dubious character, but let’s be realistic about this $37 million, victims of real crime don’t get anywhere near that. I think she’s a schemer and she is working this up to a nice out of court settlement. It all sounds bogus to me.

    by Johnfromplanetearth on Aug 4, 2010 at 8:24 am

  41. @Johnfromplanetearth

    Agree, its a huge number, but its the tip of the iceburg, they are many more revelations to see the public eye here.

    The Board will not let this see a Court, bank on it

    by Astro on Aug 4, 2010 at 8:27 am

  42. @HUGHG - For starters - this young woman is that - a WOMAN, not a girl. If she’s old enough to have a responsible job, she’s a woman. Being called a ‘girl’ is not a compliment, it removes the abilities and experiences of an adult person. This male person is allegedly a ‘serial offender’? He had a history, and there are other young women involved. I’d say that Kristy was angry and frustrated after her experience/s(even if there were only two occasions?) and wondered how she’d stop him. It is an awful experience to be molested and the fear and intimidation is just awful. I was molested by my sister’s fiance(I was 12)who was a trusted person in my parents’ home. About 4 yrs later, I was molested by the radiographer who had the responsibility to take my chest x-ray(a pre-requisite for becoming a permanent employee of the Commonwealth - at that time). Was it my fault that I developed breasts early? Was I partly to blame for those criminal acts? Perhaps my mother should’ve put those ‘binders’ that women from other coultures sometimes wore(Japanese geishas come readily to mind???)You seem to forget, that these molestations are crimes? I’ll say it again - THEY ARE CRIMES!

    Some people do not take any notice of what constitutes a crime of assault or harassment. This person obviously didn’t - the company he worked for failed in their duty of care for this young woman and others - sometimes, money and a large sum of it, is the only language they understand. It is THEIR FAULT that it came to this - not hers, or the other women either!

    Kristy does not want any of the money - she’s already stated that she’ll give it to a charity that involves itself in these areas? I don’t know of specific support groups or activist groups re sexual harassment, but there are women’s refuges for domestic violence victims, and also for rape and sexual assault victims! If she was my daughter, and hopefully confided in me, I’d seek legal assistance for her too.One very important component of this case, is that both her parents and her brother or partner or husband also stood beside her, and her mother said that this will continue. Good on them, great parents in my view!

    On the one hand you use the type of language that clearly points to your ingrained, sexist and 60’s views, and then you try and ‘mix it up’ with a grudging attempt to show ‘outrage’? I don’t believe this second view - your first ‘gut’ reaction is probably the real Hughg, and quite frankly, it disgusts me! These attitudes like those portrayed in the media over the alleged sexual assault/s by football players fills me with anger, sadness and frustration. How can one sense have such few human rights? What other serious crimes blames the victims? Should a bank manager take responsibility for a bank robbery? After all, the robbers knew that there was money on the premises? Surely he/she should also be blamed? Same logic as being used here by some people!

    If there were more people like John Bennetts, Salamander and others, this situation would not have happened in 2010. Because of attitudes like yours, and those indeed of the police forces, the judiciary and politicians etc, the message would’ve been clearly stated years ago, that any form of unwelcomed personal ‘touching?’ pornographic emails; gross ‘offers’ etc is not on, by anyone! Public opinion would’ve made it so. These behaviours are not those of a man or woman who have a genuine and respectful attraction to each other! None at all! By making excuses; criticising her for any action let alone a financial one, and then holding her responsible for the assaults against her, is only making things worse for other women - of all ages. Violence towards older women is also a very serious but not well publicised problem for too many women.

    The need for vigilance and action is sadly as necessary as when I was a very young woman. The treatment of women and girls around the world; the use of violent crimes of rape in war is increasing not diminishing, and women and kids are still being trafficked for the sexual gratification by too many men. There are about 7 million slaves in the world - mostly women. What is happening re sexual harassment is part of the same mindset that says it’s OK to operate in this manner towards women and girls. Unless and until all men stand up and say, any assault of any kind towards anyone is not OK, (except in self defence) and clearly state that they won’t tolerate it, this will keep on happening! Unless women band together in solidarity with another woman’s demeaning and criminal treatment, this shameful situation will not stop!

    The United Nations has recently announced that it will “put four existing UN bodies dealing with the advancement of women under a single organisation to be known as UN Women.”(Sun Herald, July 14-2010) UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said, “It will now be much more difficult for the world to ignore the challenges facing women and girls or to fail to take the necessary action”. This has taken place after a 4 yr campign. The UN Deputy Secretary General, Asha-Rose Migiro said, “Inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society. Women in all parts of the world suffer violence and discrimination, and are under-represented in decision-making processes. “

    by Liz45 on Aug 4, 2010 at 1:17 pm

  43. I wrote the first substantial comment and made rational comments. Perhaps it wasn’t read. I am glad, neverthelessm to see others followed suit and took the time to try to explain themselves. It seems, somewhere, to be verging in some cases on the hysteria yahoo seems to want to see…knee jerk reactions in lieu of analysis..what’s the person trying to say”?

    HUGHG for example made a very rational comment at the outset which was quite a reasonable musing, one a solicitor or a judge might make…however I think he left a link of two out and that unleashed the dogs of war on him.

    He was speaking I think of wondering “how is it that I, a young attractive female is given this job in place of plder perhaps less attractive more life experienced ones”….and the answer could be from McIness reviewing the candidates as he surely would have done. An appalling statement was made by a woman “wishing he’d put his hands up my skirt” and so on and indicating rejection which unlike most so far I see as an indictment of him….a willing and sexually experienced woman, ready and willing offers herself in one way or another but he “overlooked” her for the younger one whosome think “prettier” In other words his offence was calculated and it was not about just “having it off” with some attractive woman. According to the willing woman he said “I don’t mix business with pleasure”…well, what was seeking sexual relationship with his secretary?…..a chance meeting on a cruise ship”?

    I have a very attractive grand-daughter working. I would be incensed were she to be so treated as it is alleged this victim was treated and I have been known to flatten other men so it’s an option. In my case my daughter has advised her, including with some of my ideas, how to avois and react to such events. Were she made with her limited experience, though great ability, be made assistant to the CEO, I’d be making inquiries of the company and perhaps letting the CEO know I was on the alert. We shouldn’t have to do this but sexual assault is commonplace and for example horse studs and racing stables have subculture “expectations” of some girls by owners, foremen and or workmates. It’s certainly an issue which sould be addressed in detail more than once on the way through schooling.

    HUGHG went on and made very sensible statements and suffered continuing abuse by various commentors. That helps no one but he/she seemed to stay calm and explain his/her position.

    Among overall comments made and the crikey report, it seems that a number of women at DJ’s knew of this man’s predelictions. None informed the victim. The HR ought to have known but put the victim within reach. Maybe they didn’t know…if not then DJ’s stream for reporting sexual misconduct is remiss.

    The Board ought to have known, a board ought to make inquiries, and ascertain the hazards and risks. It should have ensured a reporting stream was activated through HR..and HR is amanagement branch. It seems they didn’t. It seems unlikely that even from normal social intercourse that no one on the Board would have any inkling of Mc Iness’ attitude towards women.

    It may be that Mc Iness thought she gave him”signals” and lets take the case that, she flirted or even that he took her actions as flirting….then as CEO his maturiity and experience ought to have made him assess the gravity of that situation and either resolve it inside himself, or have HR find an equivalent position for the Victim, which would only happen if he lied and blamed her, or an alert HR officer detected something was amiss and sought to protect the victim…which should were the Board competent and compus, have led to McInesss being investigated.

    In my initial letter I went through the matter of the money. Others have pointed out the sum being”excessive”…perhaps “likely to be unachievable” might be a more accurate expression. I am not sure how impressed I am about the victim’s staement about the use of the money, it’s a wide point. I ask myself if she was so highly motivated how did the assault happen twice? Is this simply the best way she can say “I am not covetous” or was it a lawyers trick as certainly a great deal of any award will be going to them. She may give the money away or she may not. it would be outrageous were she to have to spend anything to get DJ’s to do their job, the Judge will direct that anyway.Maybe its the solicitor fishing for witnesses and a pricey class action for the Barrister. I can only speculate and may be wrong in whatever I feel and the matter should not be damaged when the courts and possibly a Jury which may read one or all Crikey, or other posts being prejudiced.

    Kim blames the Company but that’s not entirey correct, as I have explained that’s but one level of culpable entities. The blame lies squarely on McIness for the assault. The blame for the hazard not being dealt with rests with the other women who knew his record, HR and the Board. It is a veery simple matter in an hysterical society to prejudge quite unfairly because it is so powerless, as we are today, it seeks power by swarming all over cases trawled by the media, it’s a sign of the disenpowerment people feel. That’s why hysteria shouldn;t be promoted by media, but it is, for money in one manner or another. There will certainly be obfuscation by McIness and DJ’s but we have to make sure we do not become convinced by some disingenuity from the victims legal team before facts are examined in the judicial process .

    In earlier days when working with single parents I had a serious matter afoot of an allegation of sexual assaault. I knew in complete certaiit did not happen, he was not even present at the place and simply was innocent. I approached the peak body, the” rape crisis centre” to seek professional opinion on the party dealing with with the trauma of being unjustly accused of rape. When I called back I said “sorry, the line seemed to drop out” The response was “it didn’t drop out, I hung up on you you fucking rapist pig”…the sort of irrational mind one cannot afford to have in such a sensitive position. Yes I reported the incident to the Government section involved in funding because such vicious misjudgement cannot be afforded in these sensitive matters or in advising people.

    Anger and distress will affect observers perhaps in proportion to their own experiences but we have to do better than that. Several events of molestaion of me by homosexuals when I was a child and an adult might be on the same level as the victim in this case however I did not succumb, I have not suffered some permanent identity damage, I made my case clear and removed the offending hand in the last event when I was 17 , from my pants. I have also had action taken against me in an area of academia when I refused to “sleep with” the head teacher, a woman. The effect on me was xtreme inconvenience not some permanent sexual or relationship damage . I state the cases because (A) does not have to consistently follow (B) in these matters.

    This was a respected community as when I was a child. Sexual assault in some cases becomes more damaging because media runs with it and stories of permanent damage and so on are fielded. That’s in no way meant to say damage doesn’t occur, or that it may not be profound but that media loves to whip up a frenzy and many claim that to be a good thing, There are societies and cultures which address these matters and everyone concerned gets on with life, because that’s what they do.We have, in our society to leave that to experts and be confident of the Judge’s analysis and hope, trust, be reassured by a good system, that the Judge doesn’t have some personal experiences one way ot the other to prejuduce his or her view.

    I think some rethinking about HUGHG’s statements might give him or her a fairer hearing . I hope people here will now think about seeking truth rather than trying to slur others. McInness, the Board, DJ’s and the women concerned will all have some explaining to do and the adjudication will deal with that. All of these people should have been working together as a commnuity to stop this man’s actions both in our mainstream and in the DJ’s community.

    Hopefully those who read this will go back to my original response, well up the front and get a clear picture of my views.

    by Blowtorch on Aug 4, 2010 at 3:46 pm

  44. It is 4.26pm and I’ve only just got to my computer. I apologise to all the people who have probably sent me hate mail. I just haven’t had a chance to read it, yet. But I will.

    Before I start, I trust everyone knows by now that Mr McInnes is being sued for about $5 Million. All the rest, $32 million, is being levied against David Jones.

    I leave it to the imagination of the readers to decide who was the greatest villain. DJs or McInnes?

    To the best of my knowledge there is no such Charity as Ms thingy says she will donate the money to.

    Is everyone here so mentally constipated that they cannot see a dud ball before it bounces?

    Ms thingy is out to make her fortune. What with the amount of money from the litigation, and the mega-bucks she will be paid by the Woman’s Day, or whatever seedy female publication pays through the nose for her nasty scam, she will be living on toast for the rest of her life.

    I wonder how much she would have asked for if she had gone to bed with the man?

    When people rush in to defend their favourite topic WITHOUT asking themselves “WTF is going on here?” Then lessen the impact of a truthful scenario when it comes along.

    Which one of you has looked at both sides of the issue BEFORE sailing in to support Ms Thingy?

    Which one of you would pick up a tiger snake without checking to see if it is alive or not? No one! I thought not.

    All I would ask is that you bring the same amount of caution to Ms Thingy’s _(Kristy?) story as you would to the tiger snake.

    Is that so terrible an ask?

    by Venise Alstergren on Aug 4, 2010 at 4:45 pm

  45. @Venise

    No Kangaroo Court here. There is a long queue of people who have come out of the woodwork at DJs. So what this space.

    It will NEVER see the light of day (Court) believe me

    by Astro on Aug 4, 2010 at 4:51 pm

  46. PURPLELOVE: I’ll concede the point about knowing a solicitor. But a specialist in female abuse? Very convenient.

    To answer your counter question. “”Why would anyone who clearly has the full support of family and friends (and is therefore quite likely a sane and rational person who is not prone to a mental illness or just plain foolishness) pursue a legal case against a company/person if to do so and lose would mean she is basically in debt for life?”“

    It’s the old ‘nothing ventured nothing gained’ argument.

    LOOK HOW MUCH SHE STANDS TO GAIN. With that sort of money she can go and live in another country and bury her history.

    People have short memories. Six months after the case goes to litigation people will have forgotten all about her. What is a little loss of reputation compared to $37 million dollars? This sort of money enables someone to buy a whole new reputation.

    Sorry folks, most of you are buying a very stale fish indeed.

    by Venise Alstergren on Aug 4, 2010 at 5:02 pm

  47. @VENISE - You are making the same or similar mistake as perhaps others are, including me, by putting your own ‘slant’ on the issue. I’m going on the facts as she outlined earlier, and on the fact that McInness resigned or was forced to. You have immediately labelled Kristy as a gold digger. If she was only going for $5 million for DJ’s as well, would that be OK? Is it the money or the fact that she’s had the damned audacity to take action?

    I’m 65 yrsof age. I’ve had at least 40 odd yrs of experience re reading biographies, newspaper articles, reports etc including one undertaken in my own area - it lasted for 12 months and reinforced the summary of the report by HREOC re sexual harassment in the workplace. The survey in my area was 10 yrs ago - the reasons of the sexual harassment varied from unwelcomed touching; lewd suggestions and jokes; leaving emails etc; harassment each time the woman had to pass a particular area to kissing(unwelcomed) groping and in some cases actual sexual assault! There were other instances of discrimination, such as being sacked after announcing that she was pregnant etc.

    I’ve been involved with a women’s centre and a Womens’ Health Centre for over 40 yrs. I’m currently on the board. I know the areas the women work in. I know of the incidents of all forms of sexual and physical violence against women and kids. Quite frankly, I’ve had a gut full of this shit! I’ve also had a gutful of the media’s too frequent habit of blaming the victim. I don’t know any other areas of the criminal code, where the victims are treated in the manner women are via sexual and physical abuse. Perhaps if he punched her it would’ve been ‘better’? But hang on, that happens wih domestic violence, and all too frequently, women are still blamed for these crimes too! Even from the Bench? Even when rape is involved. Only recently, May 1 this year, a bloke got off a rape case as the jury didn’t think the complainants “skinny jeans” could’ve been removed without her help - she only weighed 42 kgs?She was a skinny young woman up against a strong man!

    I’ve said it many times - the message is not getting the clear run that it should. Using this form of bullying against women when you’re stronger and in a senior position is disgraceful, and perhaps if this young woman is successful, allthose sleaze bags out there might leave women and girls alone. Perhaps money might be the only way to make them realise that the rest of us are horrified by their actions. He was a strong man, much bigger than she, and in a position of power - which he abused!

    I suggest people apply another test. What if he was a politician? A police officer? A person in the Military and the victim was a new recruit? Perhaps people should conduct some questionaires and put in other people? A teacher and a high school student? A lecturer at UNI or TAFE? A radiographer and patient? How do these scenarios stack up? Why is Kristy’s case different? Is it the money that makes her action questionable? What if she just initiated criminal charges against him? Would that be OK? Different? More plausible?
    Th Laws against actions like this cover everybody - regardless of position or status? I think she had every right to take legal action, and I support her. I’d suggest, that she may have a hyphenated name as she also carries her mother’s name - this could be due to her mother’s views re the rights of women in general, and in particular to lead their lives, including their working lives safe from men who use their position to harass/assault women! He’s the perpetrator, not her - he’s still referring to “mistakes”? He either doesn’t realise what he’s done, or he’s trying to lessen it! A cowardly act!

    by Liz45 on Aug 4, 2010 at 5:18 pm

  48. Steady on Vernise old chap. I think a couple of us have duly considered, albeit not exhaustively all rational aspects. You may not have read my two comments in your rush to get that hate mail (which thankfully isn’t there) I admit I didn’t bother chasing up the charity as several exist and she was not specific infact I have raied the issue that what was said and what ultimately happens may not coincide.

    You said “To the best of my knowledge there is no such Charity as Ms thingy says she will donate the money to.”

    I covered that above then you said

    Is everyone here so mentally constipated that they cannot see a dud ball before it bounces?”

    I think some of us have been dealing objectively. I have specifically made the point in my writing that hte court will decide..as you or some other Venise else noted “No Kangaroo Court here. “( then went on to conduct one …LOL!!).

    Your caution on the pursuit of a matter which might lose is reasonable but prima facie this will get up at least to a conviction. What bothers me a little apart from the sisterhood break down(maybe she was too pretty/too something else or they thought “we got it so should she”) so she was not warned. Later the comments below will have a serious impact on the outcome of the case and for them alone there wil be some serious questioning.

    Fraser-Kirk says Kelly would later confirm she had witnessed the incident and “stated that she was not surprised” as similar incidents had occurred in the past.

    Kelly allegedly told Fraser-Kirk that “next time that happens , you just need to be very clear and say ‘no Mark’ and he’ll back off”.

    The very fact that was said, if proven and I hope M Kelly will stand her ground on what was said “next time that happens ” will blow defence away…and rightly so.

    We are either going to stop sexual and other harassment or we are not. If you want to have it continue, rave on and do nothing. If you want it to stop, be factual, reasonable and state your case to the political end. Unless however you are prepared to also take a stand against sexually violent cartoons films and lascivious porno itelf , and I’ve seen plenty, you are going to find that there is so little leadership these assaults will continue. You cannot rationally allow a society where criminality creates myths, makes producers money and where sexual tittivation and hard core and other violence is “ok”..” we have a right to do as we please ” etc and then cry “shock horror” when some person or persons succumb and get the idea it’s ok to put the acid on junior staff or any staff.

    I find it somewhat disturbing in looking at the short extract we have of events and then seeing the very damning comments of Alannah Hill (which Yahoo offers as “just a joke” as one of two survey choices) which actually place McInness in a very unsavory frame…and her as well. This man is as ugly as quasimodo, has the dumbo-deadbeat look of the glasses pushed onto the head in his photo with Alannah yet he pushes himself forcefully onto women on reports we have now perhaps to feel attractive if they say “ok do it” for one reason or another. In the meantime it would be reasonable to think of him as not a very attractive man and one with a serious problem, seemingly well known, who has met his nemesis…and rightly so

    Perhaps if you read my two previous comments you’d get a pretty good overview of the state of play.

    by Blowtorch on Aug 4, 2010 at 6:19 pm

  49. BLOWTORCH: I’ll have to get back to you much later. I wasn’t criticising people who have taken the opportunity to look at the evidence before them, instead of jumping in to in effect say. “Men are bastards”. In the past many men have grossly abused women. Now here comes a virginal young girl completely at his mercy. And because he is a man, with a past reputation, he is the one who assaulted her.

    Life is just not that simple. I will be back late this afternoon and we will talk again.

    Promise

    Venise

    by Venise Alstergren on Aug 5, 2010 at 8:59 am

  50. Venise cheapened her short contribution by using an unnecessary and emotive advecte in this sentence: “Now here comes a virginal young girl completely at his mercy.” The sexual history of the complainant is not relevant. What IS relevant are the facts of the matter, whatever they may be.

    I hope that, whatever the outcome, this example burns into the mind of every would-be workplace predator and causes them to stop and think, rather than just to follow where their trousers lead.

    by John Bennetts on Aug 5, 2010 at 11:00 am

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