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 anti-harassment training online by 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"

Organisations strive to move beyond the traditional concept of ‘culture fit’ and instead seek out ‘culture add’ in order to create resilient, high-performing teams. By embracing diversity in backgrounds and viewpoints, companies can develop a dynamic, innovative environment where collaboration and creativity are valued. Inclusive hiring provides organisations with a strategic advantage, increasing employee satisfaction and reducing the risk of legal challenges.

By building a robust future-proofed talent pipeline, organisations are ready to take on the evolving needs of their customers.


areas 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 organisation 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.

Systemic Review

Assess and Elevate Your Proactive Harassment Prevention Efforts

Our experts will analyse your company’s readiness for proactive workplace harassment prevention for employees through 5 best practice pillars and create a comprehensive plan of action to address gaps .

Bystander to Upstander Training

Empower Leaders and Teams to Be Advocates

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

Digital Learning

Foster Inclusion and Compliance through E-Learning

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.

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