Respect@Work – legislative changes and what employers need to do next
The Australian Government has introduced the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Bill 2022, which seeks to implement a further seven of the 55 recommendations from the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work Report. Significantly, the Bill seeks to include onerous requirements for employers to prohibit conduct that creates a 'hostile' workplace environment, and further impose a positive duty on employers to 'take reasonable and proportionate measures' to eliminate, as far as possible, certain discriminatory conduct including workplace sex discrimination, harassment, and victimisation.
The Government has committed to implementing all 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work Report as a matter of priority and it will be important for employers to be across these changes in order to remain compliant.
The Bill proposes to make changes to the following Commonwealth legislation:
- Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth)
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (SD Act)
- Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
Most recently, changes to the legislation:
- made sexual harassment a sackable offence
- introduced a positive duty on employers to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate unlawful sex discrimination
- made it clearer that harassing a person on the basis of sex is prohibited
- combined the meaning of ‘worker’ and ‘PCBU’, extending the protections under the SD Act to include paid workers, volunteers, contractors subcontractors and their employees, self-employed, work-experience personnel, apprentices and trainees.
Join us as we unpack the forthcoming legislative changes, how these impact your business on a practical level, how to ensure compliance with the current and new obligations under the legislation and a checklist of considerations to ensure your business remains compliant with the new legislative changes, such as updating your current policies and procedures to reflect the new requirements.