Natural Justice: Sexual Harassment/Bullying complaints:

Posted on December 18, 2017 in Bullying in the News by editor

There are currently two prominent sexual harassment allegations in place, that being Geoffrey Rush and the Lord Mayor of Melbourne Cr. Robert Doyle.

It appears that in both of these allegations the alleged perpetrator has not been given natural justice, as neither Mr. Rush nor Cr. Doyle were informed of the allegations prior to being released to the media.

Mr. Rush stated that:

At the time the complaint was made, the complainant requested that the matter be dealt with confidentially, and did not want Mr. Rush notified or involved in any investigation,” a statement read. The theatre company said it complied “in the interest of the complainant’s health and welfare.”

This then leaves the dilemma, how can a complaint be investigated without the alleged perpetrator being informed of the allegations.  Complainants must feel safe in coming forward and all support must be given, but also Natural Justice must be seen, otherwise organisations are leaving themselves open to litigation as in the case of Mr. Rush who is defending the allegations in Court.

Cr. Doyle has also been denied Natural Justice as the allegations were leaked to the media before he was informed and had the chance of reply.

Cr. Doyle stated in his statement……..I am frustrated that I have not been formally provided the specific allegations which have been strategically released to media which is a denial of natural justice  and clearly damaging to my reputation.

 No matter what the outcome, whether the allegations are substantiated or not substantiated all people have the right of natural justice and procedural fairness.

The Australian Human Rights Commission states: Natural justice and procedural fairness are concepts of administrative law. Employers should observe these concepts in devising and implementing sexual harassment policies. Principles of natural justice and procedural fairness require an employee to be fully informed of a complaint made against them, and to be given an opportunity to respond to the complaint. What is fair and just may differ between different circumstances, but there are three basic requirements.

  • An employee must be given notice of the complaint or allegations against them, and the process by which it is proposed the matter will be resolved.
  • The employee must be given the opportunity to be heard and respond to the complaint or allegations.
  • The decision-maker must act impartially, honestly and without bias.

For further information refer to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s website: