Workplace Bullying Update: James Hardie Industries fires CEO Jack Truong for Intimidating, Threatening Behaviour

Workplace Bullying Update: James Hardie Industries fires CEO Jack Truong for Intimidating, Threatening Behaviour

In an official statement, $23 billion ASX-listed Australian building materials giant, James Hardie Industries shocked shareholders on Friday, by announcing that they have fired chief executive Jack Truong over his “intimidating, threatening” and disrespectful behaviour towards colleagues. 

In a brief statement, Jack Truong said: “I was blindsided by the termination and unequivocally reject the assertions made by Mr Hammes and the company,” he said, referring to executive chairman Mike Hammes.

However, James Hardie Industries supported their stance by claiming that despite being given chances to improve his behavior, he did not make efforts.

Workplace bullying occurs in all industries and at all levels. All employers have a legal obligation to protect employees, whether it is from bullying by other employees, direct managers, or even the CEO. It is increasingly important for companies to be proactive in order to minimize harm and disruptions to their employees, company and themselves.

According to the Australian Government, bullying at work happens when:

  • a person or group of people repeatedly behave unreasonably towards another worker or group of workers
  • the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.

​​Examples of workplace bullying include:

  • behaving aggressively towards others
  • teasing or playing practical jokes
  • pressuring someone to behave inappropriately
  • excluding someone from work-related events
  • unreasonable work demands.

Individuals who intimidate and humiliate staff are increasingly being held accountable, as companies, employees, and society at large are losing tolerance for workplace bullies.

This blog will cover:

  • Details of James Hardy’s CEO Sacking
  • Shifts in Corporate Accountability
  • 4 ways your company can prevent workplace bullying

Details of James Hardie CEO Jack Truong’s Sacking

Mr Truong was fired from James Hardie Industries after the company’s board hired an independent investigator to look into complaints about his “threatening and intimidating behaviour”. Executive chairman Mike Hammes told a conference call that Mr Truong’s behaviour was “intimidating” and “threatening,” and many staff planned to resign because the work environment had become overtly hostile. Workplace bullying is a significant issue, not just because of legal issues, but because it causes turnover and wider cultural issues.

According to an official report, the company conducted extensive due diligence, which included hiring external lawyers and an external consultant, to provide the opportunity for “sincere change in Mr Truong’s behaviour”. Despite being offered executive coaching, Mr Truong is accused by James Hardie’s board of failing to improve his behaviour. As a result, he was sacked and lost incentives, including unvested long-term bonuses.

The Board ultimately concluded, based on independent third-party consultant surveys and analysis, direct input from various executives, and additional information, that Mr. Truong’s conduct, while not discriminatory, extensively and materially breached the James Hardie Code of Conduct.

The Board took this action to uphold the Company’s core values, including Operating with Respect, and to maintain continuity of the management team that has been instrumental in our transformation.

The company’s core values and mission statement can be found on their official website.

Shifts in Corporate Accountability

Workplace bullying can occur between anyone in the workplace. But perhaps the most difficult situation to deal with is bullying by a boss—the very person responsible for your advancement within the company.

In Australia, employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and anti-discrimination laws. Similarly, in the United Kingdom, employees are protected from bullying and harassment under the Equality Act 2010.

Employers have a duty of care for their employees health and wellbeing whilst at work. An employer that allows bullying to occur in the workplace is not meeting this responsibility. We have compiled 8 tips to make workplace bullying investigations more effective.

However, Mr Truong’s public denial of these allegations and complaints about being ‘blindsided’ show that it is important to maintain procedural fairness in investigations, to ensure that any action taken is transparent and justifiable in the event of a dispute.

Generally, compliance with procedural fairness requires that: 

  • a thorough, confidential investigation is carried out and all relevant evidence (from any witnesses and documents) obtained
  • the subject of the complaint is given an opportunity to respond to the allegation and any evidence found
  • concrete evidence is used to substantiate any claim

Additionally, our article on Standards of Proof in Workplace Investigations can help you understand your requirements as an investigator.

James Hardie’s description of their investigation, taken at face value, shows that Jack Truong was provided with an opportunity to improve his behaviour (and, we can assume, to respond to the allegations as part of this). External parties were engaged to ensure impartiality, and they list numerous sources of evidence regarding his behaviour. Based on what has been reported it seems that, despite Mr Truong’s public statements, a fair and thorough investigation was conducted and the actions against him were justified.

4 ways your company can prevent workplace bullying 

Create anti workplace bullying policies

To ensure that employees are not discriminated against, harassed or bullied, workplaces should develop and implement workplace practices to address inappropriate workplace behaviour and respond to complaints effectively. 

The policy should describe what constitutes bullying and should communicate to your employees that this behavior will not be tolerated. Your policy should assure employees that allegations of bullying in the workplace will be promptly and thoroughly investigated with action taken as appropriate–up to and including termination of the perpetrator’s employment. Complaint procedures should be clear so that employees and managers understand expectations and the process that will result in case of an incident. Finally, make sure your policy is drafted in compliance with any applicable laws.

Conduct company-wide training

This training should teach them to recognize it in themselves as well as others. Some people may not realize that their behavior can actually be classified as bullying or harassment. In addition, many people are often witnesses to bullying but fail to report. Employees should be trained to recognize and report on these instances to foster a healthy and transparent workplace culture.

Take all reports seriously

Companies that respond professionally and immediately to allegations of workplace bullying are likely to find that their employees are more comfortable reporting bullying incidents. Of course, the more bullying is reported, investigated and, ideally, eliminated, the less bullying you’ll have to contend with in the future. Not only is investigating bullying good for company culture, morale and business success, it can help your company maintain compliance with anti-harassment laws and regulations. There are many things you can do to conduct effective internal investigations, which we have outlined here.

Promote accountability at all levels

Manager training about bullying is instrumental to eliminating bullying in the workplace for two reasons: the company communicates clearly that supervisory bullying will not be tolerated, and they typically have the greatest visibility into co-worker peer-to-peer bullying behaviors. They are often the first line when a victim or witness reports bullying. Teach managers to identify the signs of bullying and to respond appropriately to bullying concerns. Make managers accountable for enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for bullying, just as they are responsible for enforcing your anti-harassment policy. Setting up effective internal whistleblowing hotlines are a key asset in preventing internal fraud. 

How Polonious can Help

Workplace bullying doesn’t just hurt those involved. The wider workplace also feels the effects through lost productivity, increased absenteeism, poor morale, and time spent documenting, pursuing or defending claims. And while we often think about bullying as an individual or interpersonal issue, oftentimes, it is the broader environmental factors – such as poor organisational culture and a lack of leadership – which are the main drivers. 

The most effective way to stamp out bullying is to stop it before it starts. This means creating a strong, consistent approach to prevent inappropriate behaviour from escalating, and a positive, respectful work culture where bullying is not tolerated. James Hardie’s willingness to terminate a senior leader over workplace bullying issues shows a strong commitment to stamping out bullying and should be applauded.

Polonious can help in this kind of situation by ensuring that your investigation is fair and transparent, as these kinds of investigations are always contentious and especially so when involving high profile leaders. Polonious’ rigorous workflows ensure you remain procedurally fair, while detailed decision forms, reporting capabilities, and full audit trails ensure transparency and evidence to back up any disputed decisions.

James Hardie CEO Jack Truong has been terminated due to workplace bullying, with his actions described as 'intimidating' and 'threatening'.

James Hardie CEO Jack Truong has been terminated due to workplace bullying, with his actions described as ‘intimidating’ and ‘threatening’.

Workplace bullying creates significant problems with workplace culture and turnover. It should not be tolerated - whether from employees or leaders.

Workplace bullying creates significant problems with workplace culture and turnover. It should not be tolerated – whether from employees or leaders.

Book a Demo Now

Learn more about how Polonious can help you conduct fair workplace investigations today.

Polonious year in review: Farewell 2021, we look forward to seeing you in 2022

Polonious year in review: Farewell 2021, we look forward to seeing you in 2022

As 2021 draws to a close, it is time to reflect on another very different year and look ahead to the promise 2022 brings.

Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, 2021 was a busy year for the Polonious team and I’m delighted with the progress we made during the past 12 months.

Commitment to customers

Our customers always come first and this year we helped them improve their processes and drive innovation.

We saw our portfolio of customers across diverse sectors, including insurance, banking and education use Polonious to meet regulatory requirements and improve their end customer service, which is always welcome.

Another important step forward was that many customers got more use out of the product. Polonious is a feature-rich application and can be configured for any number of business cases or processes – without the need for custom code.

Please ask the team for advice on how to improve your workflow and customer service with Polonious and we’ll be more than happy to assist.

Exciting product development

As always, this year was a busy one for product development.

The Polonious application was enhanced with more features, improved usability and has kept up with the raft of regulatory compliance changes. These will be officially released in our 22.1 release early next year – stay tuned.

Need something added to help your business? Please do let us know what’s on your wish list and we will take a look at making it happen in future product releases.

More resources for investigators

In an exciting development, we’ve invested a lot more over the past 12 months to give investigators more independent resources to help them in their role.

We’ve published guides on the insurance industry code of practice changes, key metrics for special investigation units, and how Polonious compares with other technology options available to investigators.

These assets are designed to help investigators keep abreast of regulatory compliance mandates and improve the efficiency of their processes.

We also launched the new Polonious News e-mail newsletter this year, which is already seeing a great response from our customers and partners.

The monthly newsletter will deliver relevant and informative content straight to your inbox and keep you up to date with industry developments.

See you in 2022

To all our customers and partners, the Polonious team wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday season and we’re looking forward to seeing you (in person!) again in 2022.

From all of us at Polonious.

Yours sincerely,

Alastair Steel and Stuart Guthrie
Polonious Founders and CEOs

See you 2021, welcome 2022
Polonious is not affected by the log4j vulnerability

Polonious is not affected by the log4j vulnerability

A zero-day exploit for Apache Log4j utility (CVE-2021-44228) was made public on December 9, 2021 that can result in remote code execution.

The Polonious team immediately started an assessment of our code base and can confirm that the Polonious system is not affected by this vulnerability.


We have scanned our source code and no references to the class org/apache/logging/log4j/core/lookup/JndiLookup.class which introduced the vulnerabiliy was found.

We also confirmed that we are not including the library log4j-core (where above class is included) in our source code.

Some newer components of Polonious use the log4j-api library with an underlying implementation of Logback, which is not affected by this vulnerability.

Additionally all KNOX-grade Polonious clients have Cloudflare Web Application Firewall to stop any attempts to exploit this vulnerability. See this blog for further details.

Our SIEM solution Cyflare also supports detection of any exploits for additional peace of mind.

Security is of utmost importance at Polonious and we do everything to keep your data safe.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team.


Virtual Fraud in Financial Services Forum

Virtual Fraud in Financial Services Forum

On 9 December 2021, Polonious will be attending and speaking at the Virtual Fraud in Financial Services Forum run by Transform Finance. This event connects the entire financial services industry across the Asia Pacific region in an exclusive online environment. 

At this event, you will get to hear about the ever-changing global fraud landscape from industry experts. The latest topics currently transforming the fraud industry will be covered, such as:

  • Cybercrime Challenges
  • Global Perspectives and Regulatory Insights
  • Disruptive and Emerging Technologies
  • Application and First Party Fraud, Synthetic Identity and Transaction Fraud

You will also have the opportunity to network with more than 200 C-suite, VP and Director level executives across a range of fraud prevention, detection, and investigation roles. These include roles in Financial Crime, Risk, Compliance, Legal, AI, and Data Analytics. 

The organisations in attendance are also diverse in nature, covering financial services industries such as Banking, Fintech, Insurance, Securities, and of course Polonious will be representing the Case Management industry. 

Polonious will be manning a virtual booth at this event, speaking on why you need an investigation management system, and where it sits in your anti-fraud program. This booth will be run by Polonious’ Senior Systems Configurer and ISO Systems Manager, Nicholas Fisher. Nicholas has worked with clients across banking, insurance, investigation firms, education and child protection. He knows exactly what key pain points companies experience in their fraud prevention and detection, and how Polonious can step in and help. 

Nicholas will be able to give you a crash course on why you need an investigation management system. He will cover what investigation management systems are, how they can be implemented, and their benefits to you. You will no doubt leave this event with a better understanding of why investigation management systems are more attractive than other alternatives.

If you work for a bank, fintech, payments, insurance company or the wider financial services, this event is perfect for you! Learn from live case studies, Q&As, and panel discussions at the most important event for digital innovation and fraud prevention this year. 

You can find out more about the event, including the agenda, speakers, and more general information here

We look forward to seeing you there!

Fraud in Financial Services virtual event - 9th December 2021

Thinking about attending?

You can claim a free VIP pass to the event using this link

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in 2021, Polonious is here to help

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in 2021, Polonious is here to help

As 2021 progresses, nearly every state and territory across Australia has been impacted by disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to remind our customers Polonious is here to help.

Last year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Polonious implemented our Business Continuity Plan with regard to pandemics. All staff were instructed to work from home unless required and avoid public transport.

Additionally, this meant all internal and client meetings were conducted online and any non-essential meeting which cannot be conducted online was cancelled.

As the situation in Australia and around the world continues to be very challenging this year, Polonious is supporting its customers with their case management requirements, including:

  • Polonious is a cloud service and development and support continues to be conducted remotely
  • Customers can continue to manage their cases without the need to meet in person
  • For interviews, virtual interview platforms can be integrated with Polonious for even more social distancing

Conducting interviews during COVID

We noticed that during the pandemic it has become harder to conduct some of the day-to-day activities of an investigation (such as interviewing people) due to restrictions around movement and in-person contact.

To help facilitate the interview process, Polonious recently integrated with Simple2Connect, a video interviewing tool which will let customers interview, or run other meetings, with case participants without needing to physically meet.

The Simple2Connect integration allows you to send a scheduled, or immediate, meeting invitation to participants, which they can join on any device by clicking a link, without needing to download any app or client software. The video can be recorded and, at the end of the call, it will be automatically uploaded to Polonious.

This makes it much easier to conduct interviews during COVID lockdowns, while also providing a true, auditable record of the interview, and it even saves travel time for investigators.

Virtual interview platforms like Simple2Connect are good solutions for anyone charged with conducting recorded or non-recorded statements, alive and well checks, examinations under oath, property damage inspections, activity checks, and remote depositions. They have been used in all types of claims and investigations, and the efficiency gains and operational advantages have been impressive.

For more information about the benefits of virtual interview platforms, see this article by Polonious USA President, Rick Shepherd.

As we head towards 2022, we want all our customers and partners to know Polonious is here to support you with your business requirements, even if we will be spending less time meeting in-person.

If you have any further questions, please make contact with either of our system managers;

Nicholas Fisher – [email protected]
Ralf Weinand – [email protected]

Graphical Link Analysis with our Powerful New Maltego Integration

Graphical Link Analysis with our Powerful New Maltego Integration

Our UK team have been working hard on an integration with Maltego – a comprehensive tool for graphical link analyses that offers real-time data mining and information gathering. Our Maltego ‘transform’ allows you to run Maltego over a Polonious database and display links between elements on a node based graph.

This graphical link analysis makes multiple order connections between different elements easily identifiable. With other transforms, you can connect other data to Maltego open source intelligence (OSINT) and other partners, further building out the connections between Polonious data and other intelligence.

If you’ve run Maltego over existing Polonious cases and you find something interesting, you can query cases, people, companies or other entities in Polonious in real-time. However, if you start your investigation in Maltego, you can send the case to Polonious and send people, companies and other entities to your new case.

So what does this mean for you? Well, if you’re analysing intelligence in Maltego and you find something worth investigating, you can easily bring that over to Polonious and work the investigation in our leading, dedicated investigation management system. From there, you have all the benefits of Polonious – streamlined processes with reduced administration, high security evidence management, and built in compliance with relevant legislation.

If you’re working an investigation in Polonious and you need to see if any subjects, contact details, vehicles, etc have any connections with other Polonious cases or any other intelligence sources, you simply run the Polonious transform in Maltego. Graphical link analysis makes it easy to identify connections, which you can easily feed back into the case.

We have a short introductory video below, and we have more information and a longer demo on our evaluation page here. If you would like a demonstration of the power of Maltego graphical link analysis + Polonious investigation management, please click here to get in touch!

Powerful graphical link analysis meets comprehensive investigation management - Polonious and Maltego

Powerful graphical link analysis meets comprehensive investigation management – identify links between subjects, emails, cars, cases, and more, and then send them to Polonious to start or update investigations.

Simple transforms let you run Maltego over Polonious and combine it with numerous external OSINT sources

Simple transforms let you run Maltego over Polonious and combine it with numerous external OSINT sources

Book a Demo Now

Would you like to see how Polonious’ insurance assessing module can help you?
SIU Insights report 2021How do you compare to other SIUs?

Check out some interesting results from our SIU management survey. Submit below form to receive the download link and related updates going forward.

GICOP changes 2021Download the GICOP whitepaper and stay compliant.

Our whitepaper covers all aspects you need to know to stay compliant with the latest GICOP changes coming into effect in 2021. Submit below form to receive the download link and related updates going forward.