The iron ore behemoth has “Disturbing” sexual assault and harassment reports in Fortescue Metals Group’s employees’ booze-fueled mine culture.
As part of an investigation into sexual misbehavior in the fly-in-fly-out industry triggered by alarming headlines, the company’s chief executive, Elizabeth Gaines, testified that the increased drinking limit came after a thorough evaluation involving interviewing roughly 2000 workers. Asked if any of the miner’s employees had encountered sexual harassment, she responded, “I can’t think of a more unpleasant and troubling situation.” She apologized personally to any team members who had. In a statement, Ms. Gaines said the firm was dedicated to addressing the issue, including promoting reporting and taking action against abusers.
There have been one proven sexual assault and 29 occurrences of sexual harassment at Rio Tinto since January 1, 2013, the company said the committee in August. Rio Tinto is investigating one accusation of sexual assault and 14 other claims of sexual harassment.
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The “myVoice” whistleblower program of Rio Tinto was designed to elicit accusations.
In 2020 and 2021, Rio Tinto’s general manager of human resources, Laura Thomas, stated a 120 percent increase in accusations submitted with the company. According to her, bystanders were being encouraged to speak out as a result of the myVoice program’s release and rebranding. The majority of proven instances ended in dismissal or disciplinary action, such as a written warning. Thirty workers were laid off in the last year; half of them had been fired.
“Getting your shirt”—the transition from a labor-hire or contractor position to direct employment with a miner—seemed to be a critical period for sexual harassment. According to Simon Trott, CEO of Rio Tinto’s iron ore business, it is an “uncomfortable fact” that such wrongdoing occurs in the industry at construction sites, mines, and lodging towns.
As a married mother of two, Astacia Stevens, who works for Rio Tinto, submitted a stunning written response to the inquiry. She said that she was pursuing a certificate in counseling to leave the mining sector because of the sexual harassment she had experienced. She said that an “inappropriate” coworker would touch her “nearly every time” she was in his company as a cleaner. Rio Tinto’s employee power disparities “definitely create the conditions that may lead to the accidents,” according to Mr. Trott. At certain power imbalance spots, “we’re absolutely looking at it and analyzing it so we can put more preventions into place,” he added. Consequently, some of those who had been fired for their involvement in the scandal reappeared “down the road,” according to Mr. Trott. However, he said that Rio Tinto would support “some type of registry,” but there would be challenges.
The Equal Opportunities Commission emphasized the importance of a thorough referral procedure and the right to a fair hearing. There have been one proven sexual assault and 29 occurrences of sexual harassment at Rio Tinto since January 1, 2013, the company said the committee in August. Rio Tinto is investigating one accusation of sexual assault and 14 other claims of sexual harassment.
In 2020 and 2021, Rio Tinto’s general manager of human resources, Laura Thomas, stated a 120 percent increase in accusations submitted with the company.