DCA has made a submission in response to the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021. This Bill implements many of the recommendations from the Respect@Work report.
While DCA supports the amendments proposed under the Bill, we believe these changes alone are insufficient, and our submission recommends that:
- the Bill is amended to include a positive duty on employers as outlined in recommendation 17 of the Respect@Work report;
- the proposed s 28AA of the Bill be amended to change the threshold for sex-based harassment from unwelcome conduct of a ‘seriously demeaning’ nature to unwelcome conduct of a ‘demeaning’ nature;
- the Bill be amended to clarify that sex-based harassment can be conduct amounting to a valid reason for dismissal;
- the definition of ‘serious misconduct’ in the Fair Work Regulations 2009 be amended to also include sex-based harassment;
- the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 be amended to ensure that creating or facilitating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive environment on the basis of sex is expressly prohibited; and
- that protections against sex discrimination be extended to all workers.
DCA will be presenting evidence to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee on this issue on Monday, 19 July 2021.