Working together to better protect against sexual harassment

Working together to better protect against sexual harassment

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Our Equality Law Program (ELP) has been working with others to look at ways to achieve better protections against, and responses to, sexual harassment in the workplace and the community.

This work will inform our response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC's) current inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, which is conducting hearings around the country.

‘Sexual harassment is too common in our workplaces. It’s obvious that we need to work with key organisations and stakeholders to make the system fairer and less burdensome on victims’ said Melanie Schleiger, Program Manager of the Equality Law Program.

Recently the ELP hosted a roundtable to discuss issues affecting workers who experience sexual harassment and ways that stakeholders can work together to pursue reform.

The forum was well attended by groups including Women’s Health Victoria, Now Australia, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Services, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Our Watch and several other organisations and academics.

Participants discussed systemic issues faced by people who experience sexual harassment, based on their areas of work. The discussion highlighted the need for reforms to remove the burden from victims of sexual harassment to pursue claims.

‘It was fantastic to see diverse groups keen to work together to fix the current system failings and meaningfully address the high prevalence of sexual harassment in our society. Having legal and non-legal organisations participate was really important to see the various ways that sexual harassment can be better prevented’, said senior lawyer Kamna Muddagouni.

We have compiled a report that summarises what was discussed at the roundtable and we are seeking further input from stakeholders on the reforms the group should pursue.

Alongside the roundtable, the ELP has been participating in consultations held by the AHRC, including two consultations hosted at our office and others hosted by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

The ELP will provide a submission to the AHRC in early 2019.

More information

Read the Creating sexual harassment-free workplaces and communities roundtable report (docx, 751.11 KB).

To contribute to our work on reforming sexual harassment regulations please contact Kamna Muddagouni Senior Lawyer, Equality Law Program by calling (03) 9269 0210 or email Kamna.Muddagouni@vla.vic.gov.au

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