Employment and Migration Blog

Tag: sex discrimination

  • Sistine Chapel...Part 2
    Posted by Stephen Booth on 11 Mar 2013
    In my last post, I reported on a visit to the Sistine Chapel, and focused on the ceiling but there is much more to the Chapel than that, since most of the wall space is filled with wonderful 16th century paintings in jewel-bright colours. The most dramatic occupies the whole end wall, Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, painted 1536-41, more than twenty years after he painted the ceiling frescos. This is full of swirling energy and turmoil, with Christ hurling sinners into hell and raising the saved to paradise. It takes some effort to shift from the movement in the overall image to focus on the details - but when you do, one point in the bottom right corner has particular employment law resonance. In Hell, there is a portly figure with donkey’s ears and a large snake curled around him to cover his nakedness (actually, it is worse, but as this is a respectable professional blog I’ll leave it at that).  This is Minos, judge of the underworld, receiving the souls of the damned.  As a model, Michelangelo used Biagio de Cesena, the Pope’s Master of Ceremonies at the time, presumably without consent.  Michelangelo was always an irascible character, and Biagio was his loudest critic and objected to the many nude figures which Michelangelo included – but had his revenge in perpetuity.
  • Crashing and burning
    Posted by Stephen Booth on 7 May 2012
    There was a flurry of media attention in 2008 when Vivienne Dye launched claims against Commsec and the Commonwealth Bank, alleging persistent predatory sexual harassment (in some instances alleging conduct amounting to rape) by two named managers. The managers’ reputations were trashed. However, in the long run it is Ms Dye who has crashed and burned, as the Federal Court dismissed all her claims last month, after a case lasting 94 hearing days! The decision includes many details which would seem far fetched if you read them in a novel, including Ms Dye attending a work party wearing a white fur G-string – as you do!
  • Rude? Certainly! Discrimination? Not necessarily.
    Posted by Stephen Booth on 21 Jun 2011
    There was a case last week (Trapman v Sydney Water) in which an indigenous labour hire worker recovered $5,000 damages from supervisor and end-user employer because the supervisor told a group, including the worker, a joke about Aborigines. The supervisor had asked the worker’s permission to tell the joke, which was given, but the Court accepted that the worker should not have been put in the position of having to tell his supervisor that he was unhappy about a racist joke being told – the very fact that the supervisor asked for permission meant that the supervisor knew the joke was inappropriate.