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Leslie Cannold has had enough of being even-handed and presenting Both Sides Now. Now she’s cutting to the chase: what’s the right way to go? In Everyday Dilemmas, Dr Cannold brings her ethical training to your problems. Send your questions to [email protected] with “Dear Leslie” in the subject line. She might even reply…

Dear Leslie,

I work in a male-dominated organisation where my boss is a pervert and sexual harasser who gets away with everything because he is close to the owners of the business and the women who report to him know that any complaint will result in their career being diminished, not his. It’s not a new story, of course, but how should I balance my need for dignity with my need to pay my bills and not be trashed as a slut? Is there something I can tell myself every time he shames me?

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Demeaned Executive

Dear Demeaned Executive,

This situation sounds terribly stressful and unjust and no one should have to tolerate it. Luckily the law agrees and there are a range of avenues available for women in your position to address the problem and keep your job — if that’s what you prefer.

Make a complaint. There are at least two agencies who can help.

First, the Australian Human Rights Commission which can help you to put a name to this unlawful conduct, which sounds at first blush like a mixture of sexual harassment and bullying. Lodging a complaint is free, and it can conciliate with you and your boss by phone during COVID or face-to-face when it is again possible. Find out how to make a complaint here.

Second, the Fair Work Commission. The Fair Work Act protects workers from bullying in the workplace, and was recently amended to protect against harassment. Start here to discover the steps you can take to protect your rights at work. Steps range from talking to the human resources department or a health and safety and/or union representative for advice and support to — if such efforts fail — applying to the commission for a stop bullying or stop sexual harassment order. Such applications cost a modest fee of $74.90, although if this causes hardship you can request a waiver.

As far as what you tell yourself the next time he offends? What about: “I don’t deserve this. And if I feel safe and when I am ready, I’m going to take action against this creep. Because I have a right to be safe at work.”

Thinking of you.

Dear Leslie,

I used to be a big thing in the 1980s and ’90s music scene and many of my songs remain popular today. Recently one of my signature tunes has been adopted by a protest movement I really don’t agree with. I have always thought art is in the ears of the beholder — and I love my fans — but will this impact on my legacy? How should I respond?

Perplexed Star

Dear Perplexed.

This is a big deal. No political or protest movement should appropriate your work without your permission.

Public reputation is a fragile beast, and I would advise taking great care with yours, both to protect your income now and your legacy once you’re gone.

To do this you should assert both your legal and moral rights not to have your music subjected to “derogatory treatment”, which the Copyright Act defines as any act that in any way is prejudicial to your honour or reputation.

This means asking the movement to immediately cease and desist from using your song at any of their events.

You should also use what I assume is your ample public platform to disassociate your music from its cause. This path is well-trodden. Bruce Springsteen asked US president Ronald Reagan to stop using Born in the USA during his 1984 reelection campaign and — closer to home — Jimmy Barnes publicly disassociated himself from the racist politics of groups like Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front when they began playing Cold Chisel’s Khe Sanh at their rallies.

I hope and expect you’ll go well.

Send your dilemmas to [email protected] with “Dear Leslie” in the subject line and you could get a reply from Dr Cannold in this columnWe reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity.

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