The Australian Human Rights Commission’s new survey reveals that 89% of women, 64% of men and 99% of non-binary people have been harassed at work. The Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, is once again calling on employers to better address this issue. These figures have increased since the last survey conducted by the AHRC in 2018. There is a growing number of tech-facilitated abuse as more Australians are working from home.
The WA Government released a progress report on the implementation of Respect@Work recommendations. The report tracks progress on the 18 recommendations that prevent and respond to sexual harassment at work. Nine of these have been implemented, with the remaining nine set to be introduced. The actions implemented include:
● providing the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission the power to issue a stop sexual harassment order, consistent with the 2020 Respect@Work Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report;
● increased legal services, advice, advocacy and education resources for people experiencing workplace sexual harassment;
● implementation of Stronger Together: WA’s Plan for Gender Equality;
● implementation of Path to Safety: Western Australia’s strategy to reduce family and domestic violence 2020-2030;
● development of Western Australia’s Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy;
● delivery and expansion of the Respectful Relationships School Support program;
● review of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA); and
● establishment of the Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety (MARS) program to enhance the State’s response to sexual harassment in the mining industry.
This article gives an overview of the impact of the Brittany Higgins case. When Brittany came forward publicly with her story in 2021, it shook parliament. The allegation led to inquiries into the workplace culture in Canberra and revealed high levels of inappropriate sexual conduct. The case has been dropped over concerns for Brittany’s mental health. However, it is expected that she will commence a civil proceeding against the government for compensation.
One in five young people (age 15-24) with a disability have experienced discrimination. Half of those experiences occurred at work. The ABS has reported that 45% of people who experience disability discrimination at work then avoid work. Often people with a disability are not hired as they are viewed as “too hard”. Many employers are unaware of how to make a workplace accessible and overestimate the changes that have to be made. Most employees with a disability only require minor adjustments in order for the work space to be accessible. The Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, has said disability employment is a priority for her department.
Diabetes Australia has added a link on its website outlining how anti-discrimination laws relate to diabetes. It answers common employment-related questions asked by people with diabetes. It addresses direct discrimination (e.g. being refused employment on the basis of having diabetes) and indirect discrimination. Indirect discrimination includes being refused adjustments for regular meal or snack breaks, a private location to check blood glucose levels and administer insulin. The website also provides an outline on what to do in each separate state if you face discrimination at work.