AOC is not running a 'sheltered workshop' for staff

John Coates is up for re-election at the AOC

It is the first time in 27 years that Coates has faced a leadership challenge.

The Australian Olympic Committee's media director has stood down pending an investigation into allegations of bullying that have surfaced during an acrimonious contest for the organization's presidency.

The AOC released a brief statement on Wednesday saying Tancred is "standing down from (his) position of AOC Director of Media and Communications pending the outcome of any investigation of the complaint made against (him) by Fiona de Jong".

Coates said the pre-vote executive meeting was not a crisis meeting but more for a "sensible discussion".

After the meeting, the AOC confirmed the process to assess De Jong's complaint was started previous year.

"It agreed to delegate the determination of the complaint to an independent committee with appropriate experience and ability, and the committee will comprise three senior counsel or retired judges, including at least one female within its membership".

"The AOC supports an environment free from discrimination, harassment and bullying and will not tolerate behaviours that differ from this standard".

The vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) believes allegations of bullying against Tancred are part of an orchestrated plot to ensure he loses the May 6 election to challenger Danielle Roche.

In a Monday editorial, the Sydney Morning Herald called for change at the AOC.




"What the AOC hasn't been able to do for four months, they've now miraculously been able to achieve in four days since my complaint became public", Ms de Jong said.

She previously said Tancred's case was among a dozen instances of workplace harassment in the AOC from 2004 to previous year.

Ms de Jong said Mr Carroll could be put in a hard position should claims of misconduct be made against members of the executive, headed by President John Coates.

Ryan Wells, another former AOC staffer, detailed a separate allegation of bullying against Tancred when working in its media department in 2004.

"When de Jong emailed Coates to defend the woman, he replied: "(The woman) is a solicitor, hardly a junior member of staff. This was condemned by the Australian Paralympic Committee on Wednesday.

But Ms de Jong responded in her letter to the board: "It is hard to accept that "due" process has been followed when, in fact, four months after the filing of a complaint no process has been determined, let alone followed "duly" or otherwise".

"The tone is meant to denigrate".

'If she's offended, it's probably time for her to get out in the real world.

"I'm not sure how many complaints are required in order for an organisation to be characterised as having a culture of bullying", de Jong wrote.

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