Friday, August 19, 2022

Roadmap addresses workplace sexual harassment

The Federal Government yesterday announced its response to the Respect@Work Report.

In ‘A Roadmap for Respect: Preventing and Addressing Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces’ (the Roadmap for Respect), the Government sets out its long-term commitment to preventing and addressing sexual harassment.

A number of measures and reforms are set out in the Roadmap, including:

  • the creation of the Respect@Work Implementation taskforce to deliver legislative and regulatory reform
  • simplifying and strengthening the legal framework, existing rights and obligations for employees and employers
  • supporting greater coordination between agencies and services to ensure workers and employers have access to consistent information.

The response also places an emphasis on preventative measures, acknowledging more can be done to prevent sexual harassment from occurring in the first place.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed the response.

“Governments, industry groups, employers and employees [must] ensure we deliver safe workplaces and deliver the cultural change that is so desperately required,” ARA CEO Paul Zahra says.

“The Respect@Work Report painted a dark and disturbing picture of what has gone on in Australian workplaces and we’re pleased to see the Federal Government’s response finally announced.”

The Report found 39% of women and 26% of men had experienced sexual harassment at work, and that it costs the Australian economy $3.8 billion each year.

Changes have been announced to various forms of legislation, including the Fair Work Act, which will be amended to include sexual harassment as a valid reason for dismissal.

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