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Wollongong woman awarded over $13,000 in sexual harassment cases

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The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has awarded a Wollongong woman more than $13,000 in damages after ii was found that her employer sexually harassed and intimidated her.

Ms Tammy Jackson was 22 years old when she began working for Mr Riste Ilievski, proprietor of the Korzo Restaurant in Port Kembla, on February 11, 1995. Her duties included serving, waiting on tables, cooking and cleaning. However, Mr Ilievski also encouraged his staff to sit and drink with the predominantly male clientele when they were not busy.

Mr Graeme innes AM, the Inquiry Commissioner, heard evidence from Ms Jackson that Mr Ilievski touched her arms and her legs on a number of occasions, kissed on her on one occasion, asked if she was a “streetwalker” , and played a video which made her, and her female co-workers, embarrassed and uncomfortable.

Commissioner Innes found that the most serious incident of sexual harassment took place at 2 am on Monday, February 13. After closing the restaurant, Mr Ilievski offered Ms Jackson a drink. When she refused and left to go home, Mr Ilievski followed her into the car park, physically prevented her from closing her car door, put his hand on her lap and attempted to kiss her.

In his decision, Commissioner Innes found that Mr Ilievski had engaged in conduct unlawful under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth). Ms Jackson was awarded damages totalling $13, 040, of which $8,000 was for personal distress, $3,840 was for lost earnings and $1,200 was for costs incurred in therapy sessions.

Stated Commissioner Innes in his decision: “Although the harassment only occurred during a period of four working days, the final incident in the car park is of a very serious nature. Miss Jackson's evidence, and that of her witnesses, indicated the profound impact which this last incident has had upon her.

“When considering Ms Jackson’s age, the nature of the environment in which she was working, the lateness of the hour and her inability to leave, such circumstances would also be most intimidating.

“Employers throughout Australia, in whatever type of employment, have an obligation to provide employees with an environment free of sexual, racial and disability harassment.’’

For further information please contact: Margie Cook, Manager Public Affairs, (02) 9284 9677, 018 114 498

uman Rights and qua! Opportunity Commission

December 30, 1996

Wollongong woman awarded over $13,000 in sexual harassment case

Human Rights and Equ3< Opportunity Commission Level 8 Ficcadllly ro w e r 133 CdStleieagh Street Sydney N SW 2000 GPO Bo* 52tB S ydney N S W 2001 Teephone. 029284 3677 Facsimile 02 926*97i t Enquires: '800 0 2 1 199 (toll tree) Complaints tnlc Line 02 928* 9600 Teletypewriter. 1800 620 241 (toll tree)