Navigating the changes to the legislation
Surely everyone wants to work in, and support, safe workplaces that are free from sexual harassment. Why is this issue so challenging, in Australia and around the world, when creating and maintaining respectful workplaces is so important?
It’s vital to grasp the changing nature of workplace dynamics and compliance. Discover how Symmetra can assist you in navigating the transformations brought about by the changes to the Sex Discrimination Act, 1984: Fair Work Act, 2009; and Australian Human Rights Commission Act, 1986.
of Australians have experienced sexual harassment at some time in their lives - 89% of women and 64% of men.
Understanding the Landscape
The Australian Human Rights Commission 2022 survey on workplace sexual harassment reflects persistent, confronting statistics. About one in five persons have experienced sexual harassment in the last twelve months and 1 in three in the last five years. So sexual harassment in the Australian workplace remains rife despite decades of legislative attempts to reduce it.
The AHRC Respect@work Commission, which started its work in 2018 and finished in 2020 recognised that an entirely new approach to this issue is needed. Their report set out 55 recommendations. All these recommendations have now been accepted and are now reflected in changes to the law. These changes are called the “employer’s positive duty” and the legislation now requires employers and those conducting a business to “take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate unlawful conduct as far as possible” – what does this mean in practice?
The "Employers Positive Duty"
It means there is an expectation of a proactive approach that goes beyond a ‘tick the box’ annual compliance learning module. Since the passing of the legislation last year, employers have been given a year to prepare their organisations to meet the requirements of the new legislation. That year is up on 12th December, 2023. From that date the Australian Human Rights Commission will have powers to investigate breaches of the new duties and to enforce compliance.
7areas with specific actions
seven critical AHRC standards
Read series of blogs, each addressing one of these seven critical AHRC standards with practical recommendations to ensure your organization not only meets but exceeds the requirements of the positive duty.
Preparing for the Future
Symmetra has been exploring the implications of the positive duty since the release of the Respect@work report in 2020 and has been working with clients to formulate a broad menu of policies, practices and capability building to bring about cultural changes in organisations so that they can meet the requirements of the positive duty. s
Our experts will analyse your company’s readiness for proactive prevention of harassment through 5 best practice pillars and create a comprehensive plan of action to address gaps .
Bystander to Upstander Training
We help build the capability in leaders and teams to become active allies of everyone around them and speak up against acts of exclusion and harassment. A respectful and safe workplace is everyone’s right and everyone’s responsibility
Our scalable e-learning and digital tools ensure that every member of your organisation understands their rights, obligations and values-based expectations and will form as well as nudges the formation of healthy inclusion habits to create respectful and safe workplaces.
Package of Three Modules (choose three of the below)
- Respect At Work: Explores how to create a positive workplace environment that values respect and inclusivity.
- Microaggressions: Explores how the nuances of the everyday workplace interactions can leave a big impact on others.
- Building Psychological Safety: Explores how important it is for optimal team performance to create the psychological safety for everyone to bring their whole self to work.
- Preventing Bullying and Harassment: Explores the rights and legal obligations around Bullying and Harassment, plus how to identify and take appropriate action around inappropriate behaviours.
- Preventing Discrimination and Victimisation: Explores why anti-discrimination laws have been promulgated , and what must be done to ensure we do not breach these laws, even if unintentionally.