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‘I was treated like a criminal’: Senator airs further AMP harassment claims

“Through the last eight weeks I have re-lived my experience and it is with utter dismay that I see the AMP system remains as it ever was,” the woman said.

“As a junior female employee, I endured consistent and systematic harassment at AMP from men at the peer level to executive level.

“After speaking up, I was bullied, victimised and ultimately silenced.”

The woman told Senator O’Neill her time at AMP had destroyed her life and “taken everything that I have, yet my life will never be the same again”.

“The perpetrators, including those who swept me under the rug, have gone on to thrive.”

The woman, who remained anonymous, said she made two complaints against male employees during her time at the company – one man was given a warning and the other was promoted.

After speaking up, I was bullied, victimised and ultimately silenced.

Former AMP worker

“The harassment I suffered ranged from receiving sexually explicit photos and emails expressing a desire to have sex with me, constant and public propositioning, including in front of some of the company’s largest clients, physical harassment, including being touched repeatedly by a leadership team member at the office, a senior colleague groping me off site and another forcing himself on me by rubbing his genitals against me at a work function,” Senator O’Neill read out from the woman’s testimony.

“Finally and, in my experience, most egregiously, my direct manager threatened to end my career if I did not follow his sexual wishes while alone with him on a work trip.

“In this last experience, I felt in fear of my physical safety.”

The woman said she requested an internal resolution, seeking an apology and removal from the perpetrator’s work area, as well as coverage of legal and medical costs and sexual harassment training for the organisation.

“Like Julia Szlakowski, my experience warranted an independent investigation, except that in my case an internal lawyer undertook this so-called independent work.”

Senior lawyers have raised questions over the independence of AMP’s report into sexual harassment against former employee Ms Szlakowski after AMP refused to release key documents related to the investigation.

Senator Deborah O'Neill aired the former AMP worker's testimony using parliamentary privilege.

Senator Deborah O’Neill aired the former AMP worker’s testimony using parliamentary privilege.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

The woman giving the testimony aired by Senator O’Neill said she was placed on medical leave and suffered from trauma and anxiety, depression and insomnia.

“I was explicitly and repeatedly told that I was not allowed to speak to anyone about the matter. The friend and colleague that I asked to accompany me to the first meeting was told they would be terminated if they spoke a word about the matter and that they were not allowed to accompany me again.

“The man on the leadership team who was well known for his uninvited caressing of younger female employees suddenly stepped in to manage the investigation and subsequent communication with me.

“I was treated like a criminal.”

The investigation report found the woman was “the victim and not the guilty” and she was offered another job under the same manager, according to the woman. She said she was given five days to sign a non-disclosure agreement, “or lose my job”.

“I am almost certain that this was illegal. I had run out of funds to pay my lawyers and I was physically and psychologically destroyed, so I signed.”

She said she was demoted to a photocopying role after the complaint’s investigation was concluded and continued to be required to attend meetings with the man who harassed her.

“I discovered that my harasser had told others I was dismissed from his area due to performance issues, which was untrue. Instead of having a new beginning, I paid penance for speaking up.”

Instead of having a new beginning, I paid penance for speaking up.

AMP whistleblower

The woman ended up leaving AMP and said the experience destroyed her career and mental health: “My time at AMP changed me from an optimistic, ambitious professional to a shadow.

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“It ended my career in finance and resulted in irrevocable long-term damage to me that I carry every day.”

In her testimony, she said bullying and sexual harassment was systematic. “At AMP, the gatekeepers have until now continued to enable a system where women and the most vulnerable, as I once was, are abused.”

Senator O’Neill was contacted at 7am on Wednesday morning by AMP’s director of public policy Alastair Kinloch claiming he was appalled by the behaviour described.

The issue has been escalated to AMP chief executive Francesco De Ferrari and new chair Debra Hazelton.

AMP has been contacted for comment.

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