Compo for worker asked to join lesbian threesome

A QUEENSLAND Health worker whose boss asked her to join a lesbian threesome has been awarded almost $10,000 in compensation.

Karen Bell claimed she suffered pathological injury and humiliation while working as the food supervisor at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital's Connect Cafe in 2011 and 2012.

Bell told a state tribunal her line manager Lindy Ralph sexually harassed her on several occasions.

Mrs Bell alleges that she has been subjected to four incidents of sexual harassment by Ms Ralph, in breach of section 118 of the AntiDiscrimination Act 1991.

On 8 December, 2011 at a work related social function at theStamford Plaza hotel in Brisbane, Ms Ralph said to the applicant on several occasions words to the effect of "I'm not wearing any undies".

While Mrs Bell drove her car from the function back to the workplace, Ms Ralph, a passenger in the car at the time, said to Mrs Bell: "I'm sitting in your leather seats with no undies on".

On 17 December, 2011 at a work social function at the Paddington Tavern, Brisbane, Ms Ralph said to Mrs Bell that she thought Mrs Bell's breasts were nice and that she wished she had breasts like hers.

She said she did not like her own breasts and lifted her shirt to expose her breasts (in a bra) to Mrs Bell.

Ms Ralph on several occasions asked Mrs Bell if she would join in with her and another female work colleague in a "threesome".

Ms Ralph said that she wanted to "experiment with people she knew".

Mrs Bell asserts that during early 2012 she was subjected to aggressive and abusive management by Ms Ralph, which resulted in her seeking an alternative lower classification role and then leaving Queensland Health's employment.

Mrs Bell alleged Ms Ralph's management of her resulted in a psychological injury.

The changed management style imposed on her by Ms Ralph is said to be evidence of the sexual harassment because it was tantamount to punishment for failing to accept her alleged request for sex.

Mrs Bell contends that the effect of the sexual harassment was compounded by Queensland Health's failings in dealing with the complaint made by her.

She asserts that Queensland Health took no steps to prevent its employee Ms Ralph contravening the Anti Discrimination Act.

Mrs Bell sought compensation for hurt and humiliation in the order of $80,000.00 to $100,000.

She submitted that the bullying style of management should be taken into account.

In a decision published on Wednesday, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled in Mrs Bell's favour.

"I find that the sexual harassment on 17 December, 2011, materially contributed to, and therefore caused, a personal injury being an adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood," the judgment says.

"The other main contributory factor being the bullying and harassing conduct of Ms Ralph in early 2012."

The tribunal ordered Queensland Health and Ralph to jointly pay $9000 compensation to Mrs Bell. Costs are still to be determined.



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