1 in 4: Qantas’ scary statistics
ONE in four Qantas staff have been sexually harassed at work but a whopping 97 per cent said they wouldn't report it for fear of putting their jobs at risk or being labelled a "troublemaker".
The troubling statistics have emerged from a survey of 2400 Qantas cabin crew and pilots, conducted for Qantas by an independent third party.
It found a quarter of staff had experienced sexual harassment by either a colleague or a passenger, but only 3 per cent said they had reported it to management, with many fearing they'd be jeopardising their jobs. That is well below the Australian workplace average of 17 per cent, according to the Transport Workers' Union.
One person said they feared they'd be "seen as a troublemaker" and another was worried they would be "put through the absolute wringer" if they took their complaint to their bosses, according to survey responses published by The Sydney Morning Herald.
About one in six members of cabin crew had been sexually harassed by passengers in the last 12 months, the survey found. They were more likely to report those incidents of harassment, compared to harassment by a colleague.
The highest rates of sexual harassment and bullying came from female pilots. Two-thirds of female pilots said they felt sexist comments were common, compared to less than half of male pilots surveyed who said the same.
However, all those surveyed said explicit racial discrimination was rare.
Qantas People and Culture chief executive Lesley Grant said the findings on sexual harassment showed the company had "work to do".
"Everyone deserves respect and should feel safe at work and having an honest conversation about these issues is an important step," Ms Grant said.
"There were some very positive findings from the survey, including that around 80 per cent enjoy working at Qantas, have good relationships with workmates and believe Qantas is inclusive of people from different backgrounds.
"Many said that attitudes towards bullying and sexual harassment had improved over the years, but it's clear we still have work to do."
Ms Grant said providing peer support to people who experienced harassment and bullying, a confidential hotline to access independent counselling, and information on how to make a formal report were among the initiatives it was adopting to address the issue.
The survey results followed a damning report by the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) in October last year that found two-thirds of Australian cabin crew had been sexually harassed on the job.
The TWU said the recent Qantas staff survey showed "there is a major problem in the airline industry with sexual harassment".
"Too many workers are experiencing sexual harassment and they are being forced to deal with it in silence while their perpetrators take advantage of what the Qantas review identified as a 'we don't dob' culture," TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said in a statement.
"This is exactly the same kind of festering secrecy that allowed the worst predators in other industries to continue attacking women for decades. The airline industry must face up to this reality and address it."
He said airlines needed to find ways to encourage staff to come forward with their complaints and handle them in a "systematic and appropriate way".
"This is a moment in time for the airline industry to address the failings that the #MeToo movement has identified around the world," Mr Kaine said.
"It is the industry's chance to ensure that a new generation of cabin crew and pilots do not have to experience attacks in their workplace which have clearly been normalised to date."
Former Qantas cabin crew member Hannah Rowlands, who previously told news.com.au she quit her job with the airline after it failed to address her complaints of being sexually assaulted by a manager, echoed calls for changes to how complaints were handled.
"In my case, I was offered telephone counselling and face-to-face mediation with the colleague who sexually harassed me. Despite my requests to not have to work with him, I kept being rostered with him," Ms Rowlands said.
"When Qantas told me they could not agree to my request I was forced to take unpaid leave to avoid working with him and eventually left the industry. This way of dealing with sexual harassment is not acceptable."