ATO forced to punish 17 workplace bullies

THE Australian Taxation Office has disciplined 17 staff members for workplace harassment and bullying, it has been revealed.

In answers to Senate estimates hearings, the ATO has confirmed it imposed five fines of 1.5-5 per cent of the staffers’ salaries.

On top of this, the ATO issued a formal reprimand, a demotion and sent staff to counselling in nine instances.

The 17 cases took place in the two years to March. In that time, two staff made accusations of racially motivated or religiously based bullying and harassment.

Of these, one of the claims was knocked back after legal advice and guidance from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, while the other claim involved a year of investigation to conclude there was “some evidence of racially motivated or religiously based bullying or harassment” — by which time the staffer responsible for the harassment had left.


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