The Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Bill 2022 – commonly referred to as the Respect@Work Bill – was introduced into Federal Parliament last week.
The Bill, which has now been referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, marks a significant step in fulfilling the Labor Government’s election promise to implement recommendations to address workplace sexual harassment made in the ‘Respect@Work Report’.
The report signified a watershed moment in recognising the impact of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces and setting out a clear path to reform.
The National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces found that 33% of people who had been in the workforce in the preceding five years had experienced workplace sexual harassment.
It also found that almost two in five women said they had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the last five years. Gender inequality is a key driver of sexual harassment in the workplace, which is borne out by the disproportionate impact this behaviour has on women.
The Federal Government, in a statement this week, acknowledged the work of the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins and the work of the commission more generally in producing the Respect@Work report, and also the work that Commissioner Jenkins and the commission had done since the report was published to implement the report’s recommendations, including through the Respect@Work Council.
“This Bill would not have happened without the individuals and organisations who contributed their stories, advocacy and expertise to inform the findings and recommendations in the Respect@Work report,” the statement said.
“The Respect@Work report made 55 recommendations to federal, state and territory governments, independent government agencies, the private sector and the community more broadly, all driven by the same impetus-to put an end to sexual harassment and make Australian workplaces safe for all.”
Access the Respect@Work Bill.