On 18 March 2022, the AICD provided a response to the Government’s consultation on options to progress further legislative recommendations of the Australian Human Right’s Commission (AHRC) Respect@Work Report.
The AICD participated in the Government’s earlier consultation in 2021 on the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Act 2021 (Amendment Act), supporting important legislative changes to both the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Sex Discrimination Act) and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Fair Work Act).
As part of the AICD’s response on the Amendment Act, we encouraged the Government to give further consideration to Recommendation 19 to introduce a positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment occurring in the workplace. Accordingly, we welcomed the Government’s announcement to open consultation on the remaining Respect@Work Report recommendations (see media release here).
The AICD strongly supports the implementation of the following amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act:
- Recommendation 16(c) – provide that creating or facilitating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive environment on the basis of sex is expressly prohibited;
- Recommendations 17 and 18 – introduce a positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment from occurring and provide the AHRC with the function of assessing compliance with the positive duty, and for enforcement;
- Recommendation 19 – provide the AHRC with a broad inquiry function to inquire into systemic unlawful discrimination, including sexual harassment; and
- Recommendation 25 – insert a cost provision into AHRC Act to provide that a party to proceedings may only be ordered to pay the other party’s costs in limited circumstances.
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