If your organization has any employees in Australia, you’ve probably typed the phrase “workplace harassment Australia” into Google once, twice, or a hundred times. And as much as we hope that method serves you in the moment, it might be time for a longer-term solution so you can be proactive instead of reactive about Australian legislation, expectations, and requirements.
We create HR compliance software and training for modern teams, and the global track of our flagship harassment prevention course complies with the training requirements in quite a few international locations — a list that’s recently expanded to include India, Canada, and Australia.
You can read all about India’s PoSH Act and the various, province-specific Canadian rules elsewhere, but today, we’ll be focusing our attention on the rules in place to bolster harassment prevention in the Australian workplace.
What is required to comply with the harassment training requirements in Australia?
In many countries, there are multiple requirements you need to be aware of, which change based on your location within the country. In Australia, there are many laws governing workplace behavior and several related to workplace harassment. But there’s one in particular that the majority of the others funnel into, and which governs workplace behavior on the continent.
That’s 2022’s Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect@Work) Bill, which was enacted in response to findings that sexual harassment in Australian workplaces was remaining stubbornly high.
Australian harassment prevention workplace requirements
New obligations under this Bill, which are expected to be covered in any training, include:
- The existence of a positive duty on employers to take steps to actively eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace
- Managers’ role in ensuring that the positive duty is met
- The definition of a hostile workplace environment
- The responsibility of all staff to make sure that a hostile workplace environment is prevented
What’s the Australian definition of a hostile workplace environment?
For this section, we’ll pull directly from Respect@Work itself, because this language is ultra specific. The three-part definition of subjecting a person to a hostile workplace environment is as follows:
- (i) a reasonable person,
- (ii) having regard to all the circumstances (e.g. seriousness of the conduct; whether it is one-off or repetitive; and whether it is perpetuated by an authority figure),
- (iii) would have anticipated the possibility of the conduct resulting in the workplace environment being offensive, intimidating or humiliating to a person because of their sex.
Basically, the understanding here is that if the average person — with full knowledge of and context for the situation — could predict that a certain behavior might be troubling to someone based on their sex, then it likely meets the definition of a hostile workplace environment. (And it also puts the onus on that reasonable person to help root out these types of behavior either before they start or very promptly thereafter.)
Ethena has your back when it comes to workplace harassment Australia requirements
Ethena’s harassment prevention training not only provides coverage for existing Australian harassment prevention laws like Respect@Work, but also commits to staying on top of those shifting requirements long term to make any necessary updates.
Let’s talk today about how Ethena can best supplement your existing harassment prevention program, or, if you’d prefer to get started solo, you can take a peek at our pricing page to see what level of support would be the best fit.