NSW, RailCorp failed me, says guard
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NSW, RailCorp failed me, says guard

Allegations . . . Bruce Thompson will take his case to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
Photo: James Brickwood
John Kidman
The Sun-Herald  September 7, 2008
A TRAIN guard allegedly targeted in a homophobic and anti-Semitic graffiti campaign by his colleagues has said RailCorp refused to act on his complaints and then sacked him when he went off sick.
Bruce Thompson said he became suicidal. "When I saw the images and comments about me there on the wall it felt like being raped," he said. "I hated being Jewish and I hated being gay."
At the height of his ordeal about 30 RailCorp workers were involved in scrawling lewd pictures and derogatory slogans about him in a toilet accessed only by other guards at Sydney's Central Station.
He was depicted performing sexual acts, labelled as a "poofter freak" and nominated as someone Nazis should get to know.
Despite his protests, the offensive material was not removed for several weeks. He also alleged that RailCorp managers did not try to identify those responsible.
Mr Thompson, who started at the rail authority in 2002, said he first encountered problems when he requested something be done about other colleagues smoking in carriages. But instead of treating his concerns anonymously, his supervisors allegedly identified him openly. The harassment started soon after.
In November 2006 after developing depression and anxiety and asking to be relieved of guard duties, more graffiti targeting his sexuality and religious beliefs were found in a train crew compartment. It then happened again in June last year.
Mr Thompson said that, despite trying to settle the matter, RailCorp refused his entreaties seven times and sacked him when he went on sick leave.
He estimated his former employer was on target to spend more than $500,000 defending his unfair dismissal claim.
Mr Thompson alleged he was eventually diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. A psychologist representing RailCorp found he had a personality disorder without specifying its nature.
In addition to a series of written complaints to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Mr Thompson sought a stay on his sacking last Tuesday in the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal and will ultimately take his case to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
He has been forced to rely on Freedom of Information applications and self representation to pursue his entitlements.
"I'm also doing it on behalf of other rail staff, a whole group of employees, who have all been treated in the same vein," he said.
"Ignorant rednecks are the kind of employees RailCorp adores. It hires them in droves but anyone with a bit of intelligence, integrity and guts, they take them out and shoot them."
RailCorp said it did not comment on any claims by individual employees or customers.
However, more than 800 managers and 3300 other employees had received anti-harassment and bullying training as at August 31.
"RailCorp has rolled out an extensive program of workshops over the past two years for train crewing employees that highlight the roles and responsibility of staff to eliminate bullying and harassing behaviours in the workplace," a spokeswoman said.
RailCorp also supported the right of all employees to raise a genuine grievance, she said.


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