Employment Relations Podcast #26 – Respect@Work Part 1: Does your organisation understand its existing obligations to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace?
In this first part of a two-part special series of Piper Alderman’s Employment Law for the Time Poor Podcast, join Emily Haar, Partner, and Mark Caile, for a discussion about the Respect@Work Report from 2020, which ultimately led to a number of amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act which commenced in late 2021, and further proposed amendments to the legislation introduced to Parliament quite recently.
The way that organisations are expected to manage workplace issues, whether it be bullying, harassment, mental health matters or other issues, is moving from a complaints-based system to one of prevention. Work Health and Safety principles do not just apply to dangerous machinery, but to managing workplace culture and relationships as well.
Organisations need to be across the recent changes, which included:
- A “Stop Sexual Harassment Orders” jurisdiction in the Fair Work Commission, which commenced on 11 November 2021, which operates as an extension of the anti-bullying provisions
- A new concept of “sex-based” harassment
- An extended timeframe for complaints to be made to the Australian Human Rights Commission
- Sexual harassment specified in the Fair Work Act as a valid reason for dismissal
In Part 2 of this series, we will discuss the new Bill before the Commonwealth Parliament to further implement recommendations from the Respect@Work Report. Regardless of what happens with that Bill, it is timely for employers to consider reviewing their harassment, bullying, and discrimination policies to ensure compliance.
With that in mind, Piper Alderman will also be running an updated training session for business leaders and HR/ER practitioners to ensure they are ready for these new laws, which will include provision of an updated and compliant sexual harassment policy for your business. The training is currently scheduled to take place nationally online, on Thursday, 8 December 2022, 9am – 1:30pm. Please register your interest in this or any other training session by contacting your regular Piper Alderman Employment Relations contact or via: https://piperalderman.com.au/services/employment-labour/workplace-training/.
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