Sex harassment payout ‘a warning to employers’

Gavin Lower; 24/6/09

An Adelaide woman has been awarded one of the nation’s largest compensation payouts for sexual harassment after suing her former employer, South Australian building giant Hickinbotham. Federal Court judge John Mansfield yesterday ordered Employment Services Australia, part of the Hickinbotham Group, to pay Malgorzata Poniatowska $466,000 after two former colleagues sexually harassed her and the company failed to act. Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said the decision reflected the seriousness of the impact sexual harassment could have on victims and was a warning to employers not to accept the behaviour. Hickinbotham said it was “extremely disappointed” with the decision and would appeal.