IBM Australia hit by $1.1m sexual harassment and bullying

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“Computer giant IBM says it takes sexual harassment and bullying claims “very seriously”, as the IT giant battles legal action from an employee who says her complaints of systematic harassment, bullying and unlawful discrimination by a senior manager were ignored by the company.

The claimant, an unidentified senior sales consultant who worked in IBM’s Melbourne office, is suing IBM for $1.1 million in the Australian Human Rights Commission.

She alleges it took almost 18 months for IBM to respond to her complaints, and she spoke to four managers about the issue.

Industrial relations lawyer Peter Vitale says if Maurice Blackburn can establish what they say about the conduct of the manager and they can link that to the damage the claimant says she has suffered, it should have a “pretty good case.”

Vitale says companies should have in writing effective mechanisms for dealing with complaints, and ensure that if somebody is uncomfortable with making a complaint to their own manager, that there’s an alternative source.”