It’s time to change the Rules on Sexual harassment



Most women, and some men, will experience some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime. The prevalence of workplace sexual harassment is linked to other forms of gendered violence outside the workplace, which also occur at shocking rates in our society.

The Human Rights Commission has announced an inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. The inquiry will shine much needed light on a broken system which is failing workers.

The Federal Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer says more than 20% of people over 15 years old in Australia have been sexually harassed, with 68% of those harassed in the workplace. "The organisational impacts are also substantial, including reduced productivity, high staff turnover, absenteeism, compensation claims and early retirement."

The Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, Commissioner Jenkins says the national inquiry will involve an "in-depth examination of sexual harassment in the workplace, nation-wide consultation and extensive research".

It will also investigate the current legal framework, complaints to state and territory anti-discrimination agencies, the use of technology and social media, and will use economic modelling to assess the cost to individuals and businesses.

Sign up here to receive updates from Australian Unions about the inquiry.

The current rules which are intended to protect workers, predominantly women, who experience workplace sexual harassment focus on individual claims and settlement processes. This approach has failed and the rules need to be changed to allow for systemic action against workplace sexual harassment.

We need new approaches to this endemic problem and we hope that this inquiry will lead the way in changing the rules in this area.

If you sign up for updates here Australian Unions will let you know what you can do in your workplace and your community to help change the rules on sexual harassment at work and how and when you can make a submission to the inquiry, and when public hearings will be held.

Let’s get this done. Sign up now.

You can also read about the inquiry at the Australian Human Rights Commission website here:

National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces, terms of reference and inquiry updates