Labor & Workforce

21 women at mining giant Rio Tinto reported sexual abuse

Sydney, Australia, Feb 1 (EFE).- Twenty-one women at Rio Tinto reported actual or attempted rape or sexual assault at their work in the last five years, a new report by the Anglo-Australian mining giant said Tuesday.

The review by former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick found that 28.2 percent of female workers and 6.7 percent of male employees have experienced sexual harassment, especially at Australian workplaces.

“When I first started (here), one of the men … asked me for a blow job. I told his direct report and leader who said ‘I’m sure he was just joking. We’ll make sure you’re not alone with him,’” one of the alleged victims said, according to the report.

The review, which began in March 2021 and lasted eight months, comes after an inquiry conducted by the parliament of Western Australia revealed last year that police investigated alleged rapes of more than 20 women working for Rio Tinto between 2019 and 2021.

Rio Tinto’s report showed the women who reported the alleged sexual abuse believed that the company did not take the measures to punish the aggressors.

On the contrary, they gave them their support.

“As a senior woman, I complained about sexually-harassing behaviors being inflicted on younger women. Nothing happened. The harasser was promoted and the women left,” according to one of the testimonies.

The report, which includes 26 recommendations against such “unacceptable behavior,” indicated harassment and sexism were systemic practices.

More than 48 percent of Rio Tinto employees were likely to experience bullying, especially at work in Australia and South Africa, said the report.

The report said there was a “strong view” that racism was “normalized” in some parts of Rio Tinto.

“Racism was described by employees across a wide range of Rio Tinto worksites, including intersectional experiences of racism and sexism which made it particularly hard for women from Asian, Black North American, African, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Indigenous and First Nations backgrounds to progress,” the report said.

“I offer my heartfelt apology to every team member, past or present, who has suffered as a result of these behaviors. This is not the kind of company we want to be,” Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said in a statement. EFE


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