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Sexual Harassment Policy

Version 1.1 Updated 13 Dec 2023
Policy Manage

Who can use this policy

This policy can be used by all employers.
 
Commentary
 
This policy has been developed to assist subscribers in meeting their legal obligations under the various state and federal laws that prohibit workplace sexual harassment and sex-based harassment.
 
In particular, the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Act 2022 that has strengthened the legal and regulatory frameworks concerning sex discrimination which has shifted to a focus on preventative efforts to eliminate sexual harassment in Australian workplaces including introducing a positive duty that requires all employers to take reasonable and proportionate measures to prevent sexual harassment, sex-based harassment, sex discrimination and victimisation, as far as possible.
 
Furthermore, having a written sexual harassment policy can help you take decisive action, should inappropriate behaviour ever occur.
 
The policy you will create:

  • will be up to date with the recent legislative changes and covers sex-based harassment and a hostile workplace environment as well as sexual harassment;
  • includes a strong statement on your business’s commitment to providing a safe work environment free from sexual harassment and sex-based harassment;
  • clearly states who the policy applies to;
  • defines what is and what is not, sexual harassment, sex-based harassment and hostile workplace environments (with examples of unlawful workplace behaviour);
  • explains that sexual harassment can occur in any work-related context and includes conduct ‘in connection’ with the workplace (e.g., at work social function, travelling for work etc.);
  • includes a clear statement that sexual harassment is unacceptable;
  • includes a statement that sexual harassment, sex-based harassment and having a hostile workplace environment is against the law;
  • sets out the consequences for breaching the policy including that it will be treated as serious misconduct and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment;
  • makes it clear that all staff have a responsibility to comply with the policy;
  • encourages reporting of behaviour that breaches the policy;
  • explains how to report sexual harassment and where employees can go to get help, advice or support;
  • clearly outlines steps for dealing with complaints in a fair, timely and confidential manner;
  • guarantees protection against any victimisation or reprisals for those who report sexual harassment; and
  • makes it clear that bystanders will be supported to take action against sexual harassment (e.g. intervening, reporting).

 
Subscribers should note that whilst a stand-alone policy on workplace sexual harassment is preferable both from an implementation and regulator point of view, it also okay to have a broader policy like the Anti-Discrimination and EEO Policy which is also available and covers sexual harassment. However, it is crucial that subscribers ensure they have the latest version of the Anti-Discrimination and EEO Policy.

Important note to subscribers 

The commentaries and documents in My Business Workplace are updated as necessary, to keep them relevant. You should familiarise yourself with the relevant commentary each time you create a document. 
 
This document has been drafted to suit a wide variety of businesses, with a number of options available to enable you to customise the document to better suit your business. Nevertheless, you may need to make other changes to the document so that it suits the specific needs of your business. If you make additional changes, we cannot guarantee that the changes and modifications you make to the document will be legally compliant or enforceable. 

This commentary and any additional information provided to assist you in creating this document, does not constitute legal advice. 

If you are unsure about any aspect of this document (including the changes or amendments you make to it), you should seek appropriate advice from a lawyer, skilled in these issues. You may also wish to consider contacting Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors for targeted advice on your business’s specific needs.
 
You should consult with your financial advisor in relation to any relevant taxation or financial issues concerning the document you create.

After creating this document, you should read through it carefully to make sure it meets your business needs and is consistent with other industrial instruments, policies and procedures which operate in your workplace. This commentary is not designed to be provided to employees or other workplace participants.

 

 

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