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back to article Sexual harassment case costs Oracle $AUD18,000

A former employee of Oracle's Australian outpost has been awarded $AUD18,000 in damages after winning a sexual harassment claim against a colleague. Rebecca Richardson alleged colleague Randol Tucker made numerous inappropriate comments to her over several months. Oracle, as Mr Tucker's employer, is vicariously liable for his …

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Devil

Mr Tucker

Sounds like a bit of a wanker.

Either way, the work romance might work out for some. The "attempted" work romance always ends in tears/lawsuits.

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Anonymous Coward

Being a prat

Being a prat appears to be quite expensive these days, though I sometimes believe that the 'victims' should get thicker skins and fight back more.

If he had been robustly confronted by the woman in the first place, a kick in the nads and then advice to modify his behaviour, "say that again and I'll cut you balls off with a rusty knife!" I'm sure he would have learned his lesson.

The trouble is that the workplace is now conditioned to be all namby pamby human rights concentric so oracle end up paying instead of congratulation the woman on her prowess of her penalty kick.

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Bronze badge

Re: Being a prat

Except that if the woman HAD "fought back", she would have been just told to "get a thicker skin & man up, it's just banter", and if she'd verbally threatened him she would have been condemned for over-reacting and probably be under disciplinary action herself. Physically attacking him would of course merit instant dismissal. Either way she'd be losing out because the man was a sexist dinosaur prat.

She did the right thing by going to HR who SHOULD have stopped the guy acting in what in this day & age really is unacceptable behaviour, and they did nothing which made the woman's position in the company untenable.

Unless you AC are a woman who's been subjected to sexual harassment at work, I don't think you can realise how difficult it can be.

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Silver badge

Re: Mr Tucker

not always ending badly, the work romance failure is only a problem if your a wanker like this bloke, that was seriously sounding like an asshole harassing her and should have been booted out the door...

But a few flirtatious comments to a co-worker is not sexual harassment, but if you get negatie response you don't do it again, maybe apologise if they were offended and chances are if they were offended you wouldn't want to have a romance with them anyway!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Being a prat @Corinne

I will admit I am a bloke, and not the same AC from before, but I think she should have, ignored the first comment... tell him to shut up the 2nd time... third time go to HR and tell them... THEN if HR do nothing to stop it, i.e. fire him if he continues after they have a word with him, then she should sue them...

She should have got more money than she did... she has taken a job with less money because of this, it should have been (average retirement age - her age) * difference in wage

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Re:

"Either way, the work romance might work out for some. The "attempted" work romance always ends in tears/lawsuits."

There is a difference between a romance and uninvited sexual advances. Asking someone out to dinner/coffee is one thing. Saying you constantly want to get into their pants is another. If you can't tell the difference, perhaps you best avoid trying to start a 'romance' at work.

"If he had been robustly confronted by the woman in the first place, a kick in the nads and then advice to modify his behaviour, "say that again and I'll cut you balls off with a rusty knife!" I'm sure he would have learned his lesson."

Yea, because violence always solves the problem. Some office girls are so timid and lacking in confidence that its difficult for them even to mention it to HR never mind to stand up to the abuser.

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Bronze badge

Re: Re:

There's also the affect his behaviour was having on her professional image. I'ts very belittling to be treated like a sex object in an office environment, and the fact he did this in front of external people (possibly even clients, though the article doesn't say that) could affect those external people's views on her and her abilities.

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Anonymous Coward

Sounds like normal office banter and another rediculous decision. Its not like he grabbed her, etc.

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You have no idea, have you?

A verbal approach can be every bit as harassing as a physical one. In any case this is not about the victim, nor is it much about her harasser, it is about a failed HR action and they really, really should have known better.

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Thumb Up

Re: "You have no idea, have you?" I have to agree.

Sexually suggestive remarks from someone you may not even like (in the platonic sense) can be very unpleasant and difficult to cope with. If he was not getting a positive response to his idea of "wooing" then he should have stopped, end of. Given that he clearly did not stop and was such an arsehole that he sometimes made these remarks in the presence of third parties then the issue of harassment was IMHO open and shut.

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Anonymous Coward

Normal office banter? he sounded like a right prick to me...

I pity your co-workers if you think that is normal....

There was nothing flirtatious going on there, just a prick harassing a woman...

forget the sexual part, it was harassment plain and simple...

If he had grabbed her it would be assault not harassment!

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The Guy was a Douche ..

Sounds like he thought he was in a Carry On movie ..

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Unhappy

$18,000

Wow, I bet Oracle shareholders are leaving in droves.

$18,000 is a slap on the wrist, you can't even buy a really crap car for that in Austfailia. The plaintiff needs better lawyers; the famed harassment case at Myers walked away with several 100K for about 1 or 2 verbal incidents!

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Anonymous Coward

HR always adding value eh?

recommended reading: Up the Organization by Robert Townsend

HR were called personnel in those days but his cure would still work today "carve them out like a cancer"

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Paris Hilton

Boat Girl?

"Boat Girl" Is this some euphemism I am unfamiliar with?

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Bronze badge

Re: Boat Girl?

Roughly the same as "cabin boy", i.e. there to look after theneed of the master of the ship. Implying that on the boat he is the boss, & she would be there to "look after" him.

Also in this context, him saying that he would ask someone else except there was only room for him & her suggestes that he only mentioned it so he could refer to her in that way.

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FAIL

Slimebag meter overload

Wow, that guy really sounds like a dumbass.

Until you see these types in action, you think it's all a stereotype. But I've seen my fair share when working for various IT services and software houses, and this is coming from a guy who just has a normal relationship, isn't a rabid feminist, or a Puritan.

I'm not sure what drives these types, but it's definitely linked to the sales culture. There's plenty of socially maladjusted colleagues of mine in the engineering realm, but that's a whole other kettle of fish. Maybe it's upbringing, maybe it's the fact that these salesy types are outgoing and think they've got extra swagger, the fratboy culture that naturally attracts people to sales, or whatever. But I've definitely witnessed behavior that made my "slimebag meter" jump into the red. The big software houses like Oracle, CA, etc. all have huge sales forces full of these types. You would think that they would know to at least keep their remarks out of earshot of the people they were aimed at. It's even worse when you hear it coming from a balding, slightly overweight middle aged software salesman. Again, just a normal guy like myself looks at those types and thinks, "Wow, you're classy, NOT."

I forget what movie this was from, but one character happened to be this 50 year old dude with a bad dye job hitting on random women in the bar, who the others idolized for his pickup skills. In confidence, he told his best friend that no one should want to be the creepy old guy in the bar hitting on women. This guy should take that advice to heart.

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Silver badge

Bah!

See, this is why they need Pandas in Australia.

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Happy

"I bet the make up sex was hot." - pretty pathetic line of patter

Not far removed from the cave man with his club, either.

My company has a blatantly discriminatory HR policy: Employees: Single mothers, must speak English. Three (Western) male owners/partners have employment contracts: No personal relationships with staff. All staff: No fraternisation (or smart talk) during work hours.

In return: Company pays well over the average salary; 50% cash under the table (non-taxable); company pays all deductibles (tax, social insurance ad pensions); we supply twice annual dental checks/treatment. We also pay 50% child care/school fees.

Worked for fifteen years and most employees are over the 10-year point in service. Very low staff turnover. And we have employee harmony!

I actually know someone who now works in a middle management position at Oracle Australia and to my knowledge their employment standards are pretty well enforced. She has worked for Oracle in three countries so she has a pretty wide experience in Oracle.

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