A woman who volunteered to be on a workplace safety poster says she was victimised after her image appeared beneath the slogan ‘Feel great – lubricate!’
Reem Yelda, 39, has now lodged a complaint with the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board alleging sex discrimination and sexual harassment.
Ms Yelda had been with her employer Sydney Water for 12 years when she and a male coworker were asked to be in a spine safety campaign.
A woman (pictured) who volunteered to be on a workplace safety poster says she was victimised after her image was used under the slogan ‘Feel great – lubricate!’
When the poster was put up in Sydney Water depots Ms Yelda was horrified to discover her picture underneath the slogan.
‘I was absolutely humiliated – it is a very male dominated workplace and I felt like I had been turned into the punchline of a dirty joke,’ she said.
‘I felt betrayed after agreeing to be part of a serious and informative spine safety campaign, but instead I was made the laughing stock of my workplace.’
‘I worked for Sydney Water for 12 years and I strived to be respected and taken seriously in the workplace, but overnight I became ‘that woman from the poster’, a smutty joke.
Reem Yelda, 39, has now lodged a complaint with the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board alleging sex discrimination and sexual harassment (pictured is the poster)
‘Sexual discrimination like this happens in workplaces every day and enough is enough.
‘Nobody deserves to be made into a laughing stock and sexualised in their workplace. There are a thousand slogans they could have used that would not have humiliated me.’
The phrase ‘Kick off your SafeStarts by “warming up the joints”‘ was also printed on the posters beneath her photo.
Both Sydney Water and Vitality Works have apologised to Ms Yelda.
Ms Yelda (pictured) had been with her employer Sydney Water for 12 years when she and a male coworker were asked to be in a spine safety campaign
A Sydney Water spokesperson said: ‘This matter is currently before the Anti-Discrimination Board. The Board has asked that the parties keep this matter confidential and we respect the Board’s position on this.’
‘While Sydney Water cannot disclose the specifics of this matter, Sydney Water’s position is that the poster was not conduct of a sexual nature, but a work, health and safety campaign.’
Vitality Works admitted ‘the content of the image may not have reflected as intended within the poster’.
Ms Yelda’s male coworker did not end up appearing in the campaign, and Ms Yelda claims Sydney Water discriminated against her on the basis of her sex.
Both Sydney Water (pictured is a stock image) and Vitality Works have apologised to Ms Yelda
Aron Neilson from Slater and Gordon, the lawyer for Ms Yelda, said the poster’s harmful sexual connotations were clear.
‘Ms Yelda agreed to be part of this campaign because she wanted to help create a safe work environment,’ Mr Neilson said.
‘She trusted this would be respectfully handled, but instead, she became the laughing stock of her workplace.
‘By continuing to deny the clear sexual implications of the poster, Sydney Water and Vitality Works are adding insult to injury and creating a culture that discourages workers from speaking out.
‘Sexual harassment has a demoralizing impact on employees. It should not be swept under the rug and it should never be tolerated in a modern work environment.’
Aron Neilson from Slater and Gordon, the lawyer for Ms Yelda, said the poster’s harmful sexual connotations were clear (pictured is a stock image)