Kelmeny Fraser April 27, 2019 10:00pm Subscriber only
A SEXUAL harassment controversy has rocked an office of the state’s building industry watchdog over female staffers being given shoulder massages.
Multiple allegations were levelled at the Queensland Building and Construction Commission’s Toowoomba manager, Peter Jacques, during a 13-month internal investigation into his conduct.
Mr Jacques was sacked this month over allegations of unwanted sexual advances on two women in the office, his failure to declare a conflict of interest, and confidentiality breaches.
Speaking to The Sunday Mail last week, Mr Jacques vigorously denied any wrongdoing, saying he had launched action in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
Mr Jacques, who has worked for the building regulator since 2004, came under investigation in March 2018 when he was suspended on his full $115,000-a-year salary.
It started with eight claims, but just a few triggered his sacking. One of those alleged he made unwanted advances towards female staff by giving them shoulder massages and “kissing and hugging” them, according to Mr Jacques.
He said the allegations involved two young women who he treated “like my daughters”.
“Because I’m a sports masseuse — or I was in my early days — I used to give them shoulder massages,” Mr Jacques said.
He said the “kissing and hugging” was no more than an innocent “kiss on the cheek” greeting by the women, and no different than with his own daughters.