An ABC News report has revealed alarming details of sexual harassment experienced by a number of female FIFO workers on Queensland’s Curtis LNG gas pipeline project.
According to the report, male workers would approach women at the fly-in fly-out (FIFO) camp in their portable bedroom after dark, in what was referred to as “doorknock appeals”.
“I didn’t know how they knew where my room was,” said Liz Jelley, a former FIFO worker employed in the construction of the Queensland Curtis LNG gas pipeline in 2013.
“You feel like … that’s your place where you can lock yourself in and be safe. And then you realise that it’s actually not particularly safe at all.”
Jelley was employed by McConnell Dowell, which was contracted to build the pipeline as part of a joint venture known as MCJV, for the Queensland Gas Company (QGC).
She said she was called a “silly little bitch” by a manager, and a “site screw” by a member of QGC—and dealt with derogatory comments on a daily basis.
“Even just things like, you know, leaving my computer to get a coffee and coming back in and someone’s uploaded porn onto my screen … which they think is, you know, funny,” Jelley told ABC News.
In 2013, two male workers on the project were dismissed for sexual harassment.
After the morning “pre-start” meeting, the female workers were pulled aside for a briefing with a female representative from the construction venture. The ABC allegedly obtained a recording from the briefing, in which women were told they could prevent sexual harassment if they dressed less “provocatively”.
In it, the representative reminds the female workers that the dismissal is a “huge thing” for the men involved.
“Because that’s their career affected; and reappointment is very difficult when you’ve got a sexual harassment dismissal,” the representative says.
She allegedly went on to tell the women that the men complained about female workers “dressing very provocatively” onsite, advising them to avoid tight jeans and short shorts.
“Unfortunately, in their mind, and this is probably a lack of education on their behalf, they think the girls are asking for it,” she tells the female workers.
“So, how do we go about making it better? Management think the way to do it is for the girls to dress more conservatively.”
“We’ve already had two incidences … we have to be a little bit more proactive about it,” the company representative is alleged to have said.
“It was definitely the feeling that it was our responsibility not to get assaulted,” Jelley told the ABC.
Read the full report here.