By Emily Steel
1 May 2019
SYDNEY, Australia — Kate Jenkins was hopeful when she opened Australia’s first national inquiry into workplace sexual harassment. As a longtime employment lawyer, she had negotiated settlements for companies dealing with harassment claims. Now, as the country’s sex discrimination commissioner, she knew chief executives who were emphatic about gender equity, in pay and promotion.
Yet when she asked businesses to waive nondisclosure agreements with employees — contracts that prevented people from confidentially telling the inquiry of past harassment — only about 30 companies and institutions signed off by the deadline.
Absent were the global consultants Deloitte, PWC and Accenture; the advertising groups Interpublic Group and Dentsu; and the bank Macquarie. All of them promote International Women’s Day, a celebration of women’s achievements, and many of their executives were listed with Male Champions of Change, an Australian group that encourages diversity in the workplace.
“They all gave me technical legal reasons, but as a lawyer, I know,” Ms Jenkins said. “It is not like murder. We are asking them to waive for just one purpose. They totally could have done it.”
Read the full article in The New York Times.