What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 15 – 21 August 2022

At Last, WA Equal Opportunity Act has Been Reviewed

On 17 August, Western Australian Attorney General John Quigley tabled the review of the Equal Opportunity Act to Parliament. The review was conducted by the Law Reform Commission and began in 2019. WA Premier Mark McGowan announced that Parliament is accepting most of the 163 recommendations. McGowan posted on social media, saying “every Western Australian deserves to live their life free from unlawful discrimination. No matter who you are, where you come from, how you identify or who you love.” The changes will better protect those experiencing family and domestic violence, and the LGBT community.

Canberra cardiologist Muayad Alasady loses initial court bid to revoke suspension amid bullying investigation

This week, Justice Elizabeth Raper rejected Dr Muayad Alasady’s claim to have his suspension revoked. The claim was lodged to the Federal Court following an investigation into workplace bullying. The senior cardiologist claimed he was denied procedural fairness under the enterprise agreement. Justice Raper has said that the initial case was weak.

Implementing Respect@Work’s Positive Duty To Prevent Sexual Harassment

This week Clayton Utz commented on the need to implement the Respect@Work recommendations to address sexual harassment at work. The report has still gained attention despite it being released in January 2020. The Attorney-General recently confirmed the Government will work with stakeholders to introduce recommendations. The requirement for a positive duty will be modelled off the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act.

Widespread Use of Non-Disclosure Agreements in Australia is ‘Protecting Serial Predators’

UNSW released an article discussing Australia’s use of non-disclosure agreements. These agreements are used by workplaces to prevent people who have experience sexual harassment or assault from speaking out on the incident. These are also referred to as confidentiality agreements and are legally enforceable. In Australia the use of these agreements are hardly regulated. Kingsford Legal Centre’s Director, Emma Golledge, argues that confidentiality agreements protect predators and expose others to repeat behaviour. The Respect@Work report recommended that Australia introduce regulations and best practice principles for the use of non-disclosure agreements.

Premier Vows to Weed out Perpetrators of Harassment and Bullying in Parliament

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has condemned sexual harassment and bullying after a review revealed that this behaviour is rife in the NSW Government. The Premier promised to weed out perpetrators. The review was conducted by former Sex Discrimination Commissioner and showed one third of NSW Government staff had experienced bullying in the last 5 years.