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The provisions of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 that provide for greater protection against sexual harassment in the workplace come into operation on 6 March 2023. The provisions give effect to the recommendation of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work Report to make legislative amendments to enhance the ability of employers and workers to effectively address sexual harassment in the workplace. The new provisions expand the FWC’s power to make stop sexual harassment orders, which commenced in 2021, also in response to the Respect@Work Report, and further provide:
In addition, federal sex discrimination legislation has been amended to impose a positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment.
New FW Act procedures
Positive duty imposed
The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 has been amended to provide that an employer or person conducting a business or undertaking must take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate sexual harassment as far as possible.
The Fair Work Commission has issued an Implementation Report on Sexual Harassment in Connection with Work to assist stakeholders, and will be publishing further resources on its website, including a benchbook.
What should employers do?
Employers should take steps to make their workplace compliant with the legislative changes, including: