In my book ” Firefighting from within – how to master the tools of life even during tough times” I really give some examples of lessons learned from my own journey in life as to how to master tough times. This can vary from an Entrepreneur trying to get through these global economic tough times or in the home, work or play ( yes even play can be tough!). For me, I can only give an example of my own industry and here, I have a case study from the Sydney Fire Brigade a few years ago. As you read this case study, the main thing I’d like to point out is how you must stay grounded in situations like these. So here it is:
Claims of sexual assault and bastardisation within the NSW Fire Brigade have sparked an anti-corruption investigation, but the agency’s boss insists there is zero tolerance for such behaviour. The sexual assault claims, dating from 1989, were raised by a male officer once stationed at City of Sydney Fire Station. The man said he was pressured into not taking the matter further after speaking out in 2007. Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan on Tuesday said the allegations had been referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and NSW Police. ”These are very concerning allegations of the most serious nature and are being fully and appropriately investigated,” Mr Whan said in a statement. ”As the minister … I have made it abundantly clear that I will not tolerate any culture of harassment or bullying in the workplace. ”The government takes the most severe view on this.” NSW Premier Nathan Rees said Mr Whan had taken the appropriate action as soon as it had been raised with him. ”I’m not going to speculate on where the investigations might end up, let’s let them run their course,” he told reporters. Acting Brigade Commissioner John Benson said his organisation was concerned by the reports and the complaints were being treated seriously. ”The (brigade) is taking all necessary action to deal with these allegations and has made it clear to all staff that we have zero tolerance for any form of bullying, harassment or assault in the workplace and that we will support any staff member who reports such misconduct, and their family,” Mr Benson said. Mr Benson is head of the brigade while Commissioner Greg Mullins is overseas addressing delegations on fire and disaster management and terrorism response. Mr Mullins was attached to City of Sydney Fire Station at the time of the alleged assaults but is not believed to have been at the complex when the incident occurred. ”It is not appropriate to make further public comment on the detail of the allegations as we do not want to compromise investigations underway,” Mr Benson said. The complainant is believed to have been transferred to a different station after the alleged events, but in mid-2007 took annual leave and has since been declared unfit for work.
Of course, I can’t speak for this particular case within Australia’s National Fire Service although I have spoken out about racism and bullying throughout my career. I must point out that every industry has it’s own problems, especially in business in these global economic tough times and my only advice in any tough situation is to stay grounded.
See the full story in this Australian newspaper here.