6th March 2023

Is your Business Ready?

Is your Business Ready? Has your business completed a risk assessment to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace?


In November last year, the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Act 2022 (Act) was passed. It introduced changes to Australia's discrimination and sexual harassment laws.


These changes to the act have been designed to complement and support the existing Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation by establishing new obligations and guidelines for employers and employees.


The implementation of the Respect@Work reforms is expected to have an impact not only on an organisation's human resources policies and practices but also on its WHS model. Therefore, organisations must comply with the Respect@Work reforms to maintain a healthy and safe work environment and comply with Sex-Discrimination and WHS legislation.


As a result, a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) is their legal duty to take all reasonable steps to eliminate or reduce the risk of sexual harassment in the workplace, including incidents involving workers and other people such as clients or customers.


Kirsten Jowsey, Senior HR Advisory at Standard Candle HR, recommends all businesses carry out a risk assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of current anti-discrimination and harassment policies and WHS framework, including considering whether they:


Adequately address the new obligations created by the Respect@Work legislation (under the WHS and Sex-Discrimination Acts).
Are designed for long-term sustainability. 
Include provisions training and awareness. 
Foster a safe, equitable environment.
Provide adequate reporting processes and procedures.
Are effectively communicated to staff, including whether they are continually accessible to staff; and
Are reviewed and updated, and any changes are communicated to staff.


Kirsten goes on to say, “there can be major consequences of non-compliance such as legal liability, negative publicity and damage to an employer’s reputation, employee complaints and legal action , increased insurance costs, difficulty in attracting and retaining employees, loss of productivity and not forgetting, the penalties up to $332,856 induvial damages or $1.8M for corporations (depending on the State)”.


The onus will be on employers to prevent sexual harassment under new laws. Does your business need help to complete a risk assessment, call today 1300 620 100 for a complimentary chat on how Standard Candle HR can manage this process?

Is your Business Ready?

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