Mining giant Fortescue Metals Group faces charges over sexual harassment documents

Fortescue is yet to plead to the 34 charges levelled by the WA regulator.

Fortescue is yet to plead to the 34 charges levelled by the WA regulator. Photo: AAP

Fortescue Metals Group faces prosecution in Western Australia for failing to supply documents relating to dozens of alleged sexual harassment cases at its mine sites.

The mining giant has been charged with 34 counts of refusing or failing to comply with a requirement to provide documents to a WorkSafe inspector within a specified period without a reasonable excuse.

The documents relate to cases of alleged sexual harassment at Fortescue’s Christmas Creek, Solomon and Cloudbreak mining operations, WorkSafe said on Wednesday.

Inspectors have the right under WA laws to request that documentation be received within a specified time period unless there is a reasonable excuse, the regulator said.

The case has been listed for mention in Perth Magistrates Court on March 17 and Fortescue is yet to enter a plea to the charges.

“As the case is now in the hands of the courts, no further information will be provided at this stage,” WorkSafe said in a statement.

A Fortescue spokeswoman said the company had always complied with its obligations under the relevant legislation to report cases of sexual harassment and other psychosocial harm incidents.

“We have been seeking to work constructively with WorkSafe for many months and are confused by WorkSafe choosing to issue a media release without notifying us,” she said.

“Improving the safety of our workplaces and ensuring our team members feel safe enough to speak up is critical and we will continue to take meaningful action to eliminate sexual harassment.”

A parliamentary inquiry last year found WA’s multibillion-dollar mining industry had failed to protect female workers from predatory behaviour, including targeted violence, stalking, grooming and threats to their livelihoods.


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