Everything you need on Respect at Work. Respect at Work Sexual Harassment report.
An allegation of sexual harassment in the workplace carries with it a number of significant implications for all involved. For an employer, the legal and public relations risk is real. For the person making the complaint, who may have already suffered a physical or psychological injury, there is the possibility of retribution for having spoken out. For the person accused of sexual harassment, in the case of vexatious complaints, the danger of personal and professional reputational damage cannot be understated.
The Respect at Work report into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces comes at a time where these issues are receiving unprecedented (but warranted) attention. The report makes a number of recommendations that will affect how sexual harassment in the workplace is to be addressed by employers.
Taking preventative steps against sexual harassment is not just good human resource and workplace culture management, but also an important means of mitigating a business’s legal risk.
We can help you
conduct workplace investigations
All staff need to be accountable for their actions, but so does the business – conducting impartial workplace investigations shows your commitment to being a fair, and productive workplace.
You may think it is easy to do this internally, as you know your business and employees best. However, with humans, there is always a risk of bias. Many workplaces often do not have the internal skills to effectively carry out investigations into harassment impartially. It takes years of experience, and observation of investigations in practice and outcomes.
NRA Legal’s experienced employment lawyers are ideally placed to undertake an impartial investigation as required by your business. Whether it’s a simple matter of 'he-said, she-said' or a forensic analysis of financial and technical data and everything in between, we’ll give you the confidence that the right questions have been asked and an evidence-based conclusion is reached.
with workplace policies
One of the most fundamental and often overlooked preventative measures is in setting and enforcing a workplace policy that prohibits sexual harassment.
The policy should clearly set out:
- what sexual harassment is, potentially with the aid of examples;
- that sexual harassment will not be accepted in the workplace; and
- how complaints of sexual harassment will be dealt with.
However, simply having such a policy is not enough to allow an employer to show that they have taken reasonable steps to protect their workers from harassment. An employer will need to show that this policy was not merely gathering cobwebs on a shelf, but that it was proactively promoted to their workers. This may involve:
- delivering regular training on the policy for all employees;
- providing a copy of the policy as part of the induction process for new employees;
- making copies of the policy made available on the staff notice board and Intranet; and
- making sure that the policy is discussed verbally with employees in a manner that they understand.
If this sounds like a foreign world to you, we can help. NRA Legal have helped many employers mitigate these risks by developing comprehensive policies and conducting workplace investigations to ensure a culture of respect.
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