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We deserve Safe Work

August 11, 2021 11:49 am

1 in 3 Australian workers has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the last 5 years. 

But where is the safety, protection, and justice for victims? 

All workers deserve to be safe from sexual harassment at their work, and the AWU is calling on the Government to take action.

The Federal Government will be voting this week on a new bill to protect workers from sexual harassment and discrimination.

We need to make sure this bill includes recommendations from the Respect@Work report.

Email your local key MP or Senator, and encourage them to support amendments for this critical bill. It will only take a few moments!

What is the AWU fighting for? 

We strongly believe all workers have the right to be safe at work – but for many people, that isn’t the case. That’s why the AWU is calling for decisive action against sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment is defined as:

• Staring or leering;
• Unwanted familiarity, and touching;
• Jokes and comments of a sexual nature;
• Verbal abuse or insults of a sexual nature;
• Inappropriate or sexual questions;
• Displaying digital or hardcopy material of a sexual nature;
• Sexually explicit emails or text messages;
• Inappropriate behaviour via social networking sites;
• Accessing sexually explicit material online;
• Requests for sex or other unwanted advances, or
• Behaviour that may also be an offence under criminal law.

The Respect@Work report highlighted “widespread and pervasive” issues with sexual harassment, discrimination, and gender-based violence in Australian workplaces, with little legislative support. Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner made 55 recommendations. You can view the report here.

These recommendations must be enforced if we want serious action, as a nation, on workplace safety and equality. 

But the proposed Bill by the Morrison Government fails to implement some of the key recommendations.

The proposed Bill must be amended to include the following recommendations from the Respect@Work report: 

1.  Stronger work health and safety laws to make sure that employers are obliged to tackle the underlying causes of sexual harassment at work.

2.  Better access to justice for workers in our workplace laws by prohibiting sexual harassment in the Fair Work Act and providing a quick, easy, new complaints process, and providing 10 days’ paid Family and Domestic Violence leave as a national minimum employment standard.

3.  Stronger powers for the Sex Discrimination Commissioner to make her own decisions to investigate industries and workplaces which are rife with sexual harassment, and positive duties on employers to take steps to eliminate sexual harassment. 

Sexual harassment must be considered a serious risk to workers’ health and safety. All Australians deserve the right to a safe, respectful workplace. Send an email to your local MP or Senator, and join our call to action.


Gendered Violence

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Sex Discrimination

The definitions of sexual discrimination and harassment, your rights, and how the AWU can help you stay safe in the workplace.

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