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Combatting Public Relations And Communication Management

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Public relations maintenance is essential for the business world in order to maintain a good relation with the customers. However, the public relation is often hampered when cases such as the case of David Jones Ltd, that resulted in the hamper of public relations with the customers. One of the most infamous cases of Australia and perhaps the biggest sexual harassment cases in the Australian history. This report highlights the main findings of the case and the recommendations that could be proposed for the solution of the case. The recommendations highlights the steps that could have been taken by the employer and the employees, that would prevent the worst consequences of the case.

The swiftness by which the case of sexual harassment of Kristy Fraser-Kirk and David Jones had spread highlights the seriousness of the allegations made by the 27 years old woman. The claims of Fraser-Kirk aroused out of a series of alleged unwanted sexual interactions with the former chief executive officer of David Jones Ltd (Baird and Williamson 2011).  The case took place in May and June 2010. The allegations of the lady was also against the senior management of the company David Jones, since some of them were aware of the sexual harassments that have been taking place against the lady, but did not take any action to prevent the sexual misconduct (Cornelissen 2014). The claims related to the allegation was made by David Jones, as a public statement, result in the chief executive officer Mclnnes’ resignation (Wright 2011). The lady Fraser –Kirk had complained of the sexual harassment and the sex based discrimination against her. However, the claims she made were not a part of the proceedings of the Federal Court, since the complains were before the Austarlian Human Right Commission. However, if the Commission did not resolve the issues on time, then the lady would have joined these claims with the claims of the other Federal Court claims (Judd and Easteal 2013).

The allegations made by the employee Fraser-Kirk was against her employer David Jones and against the CEO of the company Mclnne, along with the members of the David Jones board (Judd 2016). Though Mclnne had sexually harassed Fraser-Kirk, yet her allegations were not only against the man, but against the company itself and the board of member. These allegations made the employer vicariously liable for the sexual harassments of Fraser-Kirk done by an employee perpetrator (Van der Winden 2014). The employer David Jones tried to defend the claims of the vicarious liability of the sexual harassment faced by the alleger. David Jones was charged for not taking any step against the complaints of the employee against the chief executive officer (Wright 2011). However, the case was put up in the Federal Court and the case resulted in the resignation of the victim, the CEO of the company (Grunig 2013). While the case was on, the cab drivers and the people who had witnessed the inappropriate behaviour of the CEO with Fraser-Kirk were interviewed as witness (Wright 2011). Most of them confirmed that the allegations of Fraser-Kirk were true. However, some of the elderly businesspersons highlighted the fact that may be Fraser-Kirk did not receive much attention from the senior managers as well as the CEO, hence to receive adequate spotlight, the lady had used these allegations against the CEO (Easteal et al. 2011). This opinion is contradicted by the facts that, if the CEO was innocent, and the allegations were false, then he would not have resigned amidst the case. The fact that the company David Jones agreed to settle the case outside the court and pay such a huge amount to the complainer, highlights the fact that the charges against the CEO were true and the employers as well as the employees were aware of the fact. The evidences of the text messages send to Fraser-Kirk from Mclnne along with the voice mails, pleading for mercy, requesting her to withdraw her allegations, needs no explanations that Mclnne was guilty (Wright 2011). However, the case was finally settled out of court, by a payment of a large amount of $850,000. Within this time, the case had received adequate public spotlight (Wright 2011). Following this case, David Jones terminated the employment of Mclnne.



Maintaining a good public relation in the workplace is essential to be maintained by the employer as well as by the employees. One of the public relation theories that could be used such that a good and healthy public relation is the excellence theory. The Excellence theory is one of the general public relation theories that specifies and provides a guideline how the public relations could be made more effective in business organizations. Following the guidelines of this theory would ensure that cases such as that of Fraser-Kirt vs David Jones would not take place in any other organization. This theory specifies the behaviours that are accepted in order to promote good public relations, against the behaviours that are considered as misconduct.     


In case of Fraser Vs David Jones, the CEO was at fault for his misconduct and sexual harassment against a woman employee Fraser-Kirk. The sexual misconduct by the CEO should not have been encouraged, when the sexual acts were unwelcomed by the employee. This, it is recommended to maintain a good public relation with the employees and no act of sexual harassment should be encouraged. Moreover, sexual harassment faced by an employee, men or women needs to be reported immediately as and when they occur, instead to keeping it a secret. Following the workplace ethics and guidelines would result in maintenance of public relations. Thus, if the CEO had stopped the sexual discrimination against the employee, then, the job, livelihood and the respect of Mclnne would have saved along with the huge amount of money that had to be paid to Fraser- Kirk as compensation. These recommendations followed might have saved the job of the CEO of David Jones.  



Baird, M. and Williamson, S., 2011. Women, work and industrial relations in 2010. Journal of Industrial Relations, 53(3), pp.337-352.

Cornelissen, J., 2014. Corporate communication: A guide to theory and practice. Sage.

Easteal, P., Saunders, S., Judd, K. and Arnold, B., 2011. Sexual harassment on trial: The DJs case. Alternative Law Journal, 36(4), pp.230-235.

Grunig, J.E., 2013. Excellence in public relations and communication management. Routledge.

Judd, K., 2016. Sexual harassment law in Australia. Legaldate, 28(3), p.11.

Judd, K. and Easteal, P., 2013. Media Reportage of Sexual Harassment: The (In) credible Complainant. Denning LJ, 25, p.1.

Van der Winden, C., 2014. Combatting Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Policy vs. Legislative Reform. Canberra L. Rev., 12, p.204.

Wright, J., 2011. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: The Loophole Exposing Western Australia's Parliament. eLaw Journal: Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, 17(2), pp.50-89.


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