Companies

Aug 3, 2010

Will sexual harassment cost DJs $37m?

A $37 million sexual harassment claim launched against David Jones and its former chief executive Mark McInnes has sent shockwaves through Australia's business community.

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.

61 comments

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61 thoughts on “Will sexual harassment cost DJs $37m?

  1. John

    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.

  2. Robertson

    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).

  3. abarker

    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.

  4. Michael James

    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).

  5. Socratease

    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.

  6. Robertson

    @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.

  7. cwykamp

    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?

  8. Pablo999

    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 ?

  9. Liz45

    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!

  10. SusieQ

    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.

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