On Monday 28 November, the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation (Respect at Work) Bill 2022 passed federal parliament.
The legislation implements several recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work report, including:
- expressly prohibiting an employer from creating a workplace environment that is hostile on the grounds of sex
- creating a positive duty on an employer to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate sex discrimination
- empowering the Australian Human Rights Commission to undertake education, reporting and compliance functions associated with the positive duty or systemic unlawful discrimination
- extending the obligations in the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Cth) to Commonwealth public sector bodies
In Victoria, employers are already under a positive duty to eliminate sex discrimination under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) investigates and enforces this duty. The VEOHRC recently completed such an investigation into Bakers Delight Holdings. They found the company should develop a prevention plan, new policies and procedures, a new training module and a dedicated register to record inappropriate workplace behaviours. The VEOHRC will monitor this work through a Compliance Agreement.