Sunday, June 21, 2009

David Garrett: Sexist as well as Bigoted

It seems that ACT MP David Garrett is a man of many talents. Not only is he a drunken bigot - he's also a sexist who sexually harasses female Parliamentary staffers:

The Herald on Sunday learned that Hide was approached by a staff member who expressed concerns about comments made by Garrett. The comments were to another staff member inside the party office, and about her elsewhere in the Parliamentary complex.

Those comments allegedly included one made when the MP saw the woman filling a drink bottle at a water cooler. The comment described an oral sex act.

Hide said he had not heard of that comment but confirmed that Garrett had made "off-colour remarks". He had not sought details of the incidents as it was not his role to act as "judge and jury".

Instead, he spoke to Garrett "about the need to maintain high standards at all times".

Hide said the matter could be escalated to the Parliamentary Service - which employs the staff member - if there was a formal complaint. He had met with the staff member to assure her any complaint she made would be handled properly.

Two comments: firstly, no-one should have to put up with this in the workplace (or anywhere else, for that matter), and the woman was right to complain. And secondly, unlike John Key, who ignored Richard Worth's serial harassment and apparent offer of government appointments for sexual favours, Hide seems to have handled this correctly, disciplining his MP and reassuring the complainant of her rights. Unfortunately, the normal solution - sacking the harasser - isn't really available in this case, so I'm not sure what happens if a formal complaint is made and it is upheld.