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Additional Respect@Work amendments introduced

On 27 September 2022, the Federal Government introduced the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Bill 2022 which, if passed, would place a positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment, sex discrimination and victimisation in the workplace.

On 27 September 2022, the Federal Government introduced the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Bill 2022  which, if passed, would place a positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment, sex discrimination and victimisation in the workplace.

The Respect@Work Bill is in response to the 55 recommendations made by Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in its ‘Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report (2020)’.

The recommendations by the AHRC were based on the finding that despite sexual harassment being unlawful under anti-discrimination legislation, it remained“ prevalent and pervasive” in workplaces with a reported 33% of people experiencing workplace sexual harassment in the preceding five years.

The proposed amendments in the Respect@Work Bill are in addition to the recommendations implemented last year under the Sex Discrimination and FairWork (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 (as summarised in our previous News Update).

If the Respect@Work Bill is passed by Parliament, it will incorporate a further seven recommendations from the AHRC report, including:

  • introducing a positive duty on employers to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate sex discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation, as far as possible;
  • strengthening the AHRC with new functions to assess and enforce compliance with this new duty, including capacity to give compliance notices to employers who are not meeting their obligations; and
  • expressly prohibiting conduct that results in a hostile workplace environment on the grounds of sex.

We will be sure to keep you updated as the Respect@Work Bill progresses.

Information provided in this news alert is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Workplace Law does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of this blog, or from links on this website to any external website. Where applicable, liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

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