/ 29 May 2024

A corporate culture reckoning…


The Squiz 

Fashion house Country Road Group is under pressure over complaints of a toxic work culture that surfaced on Monday. That includes allegations of sexual harassment and bullying against senior executives, and reports say affected staff reckon their allegations weren’t taken seriously. The group oversees some well-known clothing brands, including Country Road, Trenery, Mimco, Witchery and Politix. 

How did it come to this?

We’ll start in March when Roy Bagattini – the chief executive of South African business Woolworths Holdings (aka the retail group’s parent company) – visited Country Road’s head office in Melbourne. There, he heard complaints about unwanted touching of female staff, bullying and racism, and following the reports of employees feeling unsafe, a review was launched. Bagattini was back in contact with staff yesterday with an email telling them not to comment to the media on the allegations after they were leaked to the press earlier this week. A spokesperson for the company says the outcomes of the investigation will be shared with team members next month and that it’s “critically important” workers “feel safe, valued and included”.

There’s been a bit of this around recently…

Yep. Yesterday we talked about the alleged inappropriate behaviour of Nine’s news boss Darren Wick, and it has now come out that a second senior manager at the company has also resigned in similar circumstances. Adrian Foo was the publicity boss of Nine’s streaming service, Stan, and reports say he left after at least 5 people made allegations of bullying and inappropriate physical contact. That led to an investigation, but Foo was gone before it wrapped up. And it’s not just private businesses… Rob Stefanic, the boss of the federal Department of Parliamentary Services, is under scrutiny following allegations he promoted a woman he was romantically involved with to a highly-paid senior role and oversaw a “toxic” working environment. Stefanic denies he was romantically involved with the woman while he was her boss.

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