QBCC manager sacked over harassment claims
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.
Mr Jacques said other staff in the eight-person office complained they were offended by this and that "my relationship with (the women) was better than with everyone else". He said the two women involved were not the complainants.
He was also sacked for allegedly failing to declare a conflict of interest relating to a contract with a local builder to build him a deck.
The contract was cancelled when the builder went to work in flood-struck areas, according to Mr Jacques, who decided to build the deck himself and pay the builder for the timber.
"They said I got a benefit out of that because I paid wholesale for the wood," he said.
A QBCC spokesman said it takes "any allegation of misconduct by its staff very seriously".