Australia’s federal anti-discrimination laws currently hold employers vicariously liable for unlawful acts of discrimination and harassment by their employees, unless the employer can show that it took all reasonable steps to prevent the act occurring. If you want to know what constitutes all reasonable steps then you need to go to the caselaw or contact us at EEO Specialists and we can provide you with an overview of the 10 things courts say employers should do.
Many Australian state jurisdictions are considering implementing a positive duty to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, in line with what Victoria has done and in accordance with the recommendations from the Respect@Work Report. The Northern Territory is framing this as requiring employers to “take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation to the greatest extent possible.”
If you don’t want to be on the back foot when these changes are legislated, then contact EEO Specialists now or watch the video and download the eBooklet here.
This week BHP added a sexual harassment section on its website. This comes after pressure on the mining industry to better address treatment of women at work. BHP acknowledges the findings of the Australian Human Rights Commission which revealed high rates of sexual harassment at work. In the statement, BHP deeply apologises to those that have experienced harassment anywhere at BHP. BHP has outlined its approach to prevent sexual harassment and treat it as a health and safety risk.
Australian of the Year, Dylan Alcott, participated in the Jobs and Skills Summit advocating for disability rights. He primarily spoke on allowing people on the disability support pension to work more hours without losing these benefits. He spoke on challenging unconscious bias towards people living with disabilities and providing fair working opportunities. Dylan expressed that eliminating disability discrimination requires educating people within the workforce.
Monash University conducted a study in which researchers analysed calls from Victorians to JobWatch between 2019 and 2020. 14 percent of the calls related to pregnancy and breastfeeding discrimination complaints. Dismissing, demoting or bullying pregnant people in the workplace is precluded under discrimination laws. However, the study revealed that this form of discrimination exists at all levels of expertise and across all industries. The complaints included women being denied parental leave, days off for medical reasons and rostered for reduced hours.