Radio Announcer fined for verbal bullying

Reginald David (Reg) Mowat, 34, of Ballarat, has pleaded guilty to one charge of “failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others in the workplace by using abusive language” and has been fined.

In a landmark case for the radio industry, where expletives slip off the lips regularly in most voiceover booths, this case has drawn a lot of interest.

Mowat’s case is different from most workplace bullying incidents. Normally there is physical abuse involved, but Mowat was convicted for his verbal bullying, although other physical incidents were alleged in court.

The Ballarat Magistrates Court heard that several incidents had occurred at 3BA Ballarat between March 2001 and 2003. After complaints from co-workers, Mowat was issued with a warning letter from 3BA management about his behaviour, but the incidents continued and he was sacked in 2003.

Mowat is alleged to have slapped a co-worker across the face in one incident and to have used threatening behaviour. He also unfairly criticised other employees’ work performance.

The court heard that Mowat told a co-worker: “Fair dinkum, you’re fucking useless . . . you’re just fucking me around… I will take you down the back and fucking smash you.”

The court was told of another incident in September 2003 when Mowat was driving a SAAB test car for an advertising client and told a co-worker: “I’m not in the fucking mood to do the commercial, the client is a prick…”

In his defence Mowat’s lawyer argued that Mowat “was the front man” for the station and when mistakes went to air he became frustrated and “exploded.”

In convicting Mowat the Magistrate said he understood the stress he would have been under at work, but his actions were “not acceptable.”