In August, a New South Wales Court of Appeal judged in favour of an employee who claimed sexual harassment after her image appeared in a work health and safety poster.
The employer is an occupational health service and used a contractor to put together and display a poster, which was designed by a team of women, and featured the fully clothed employee in a hard hat, and the words “Feel great – lubricate”.
After a complaint from the employee, the employer apologised and removed the posters, however the employee took action for sexual discrimination.
The tribunal didn’t accept the employer’s explanation that the word ‘lubricate’ in the poster referred to lubrication of the joints through exercise and awarded employee $200,000.
Furthermore, the tribunal separately decided that the employee, who resigned from her job, had suffered psychological injury and that both the employer and contractor should take responsibility for her subsequent inability to work.
It was pointed out that, “innuendo, insinuation, implication, overtone, undertone, horseplay, a hint, a wink or a nod” all could be interpreted as sexual harassment.