This week the Equal Opportunity Commissioner has handed down the report for the Review of Harassment in the South Australian Legal Profession, with one of the recommendations calling for the South Australian Parliament to amend the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 to impose a positive duty on employers to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment, and victimisation.
This is now the second Equal Opportunity review into sexual harassment and discrimination in workplaces handed down this year that has made this recommendation: the report of the Parliamentary Review also included this recommendation. Last year the Australian Human Rights Commission has also recommended that employers should be obligated to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment, and victimisation in the workplace.
In response to these recommendations, the Greens SA will introduce legislation to amend the Equal Opportunity Act to ensure that employers have a positive duty to prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Quotes attributable to Tammy Franks MLC:
“Once again, an investigation by the Equal Opportunity commissioner has shone the light on the ‘open secret’ of rife sexual harassment and discrimination in South Australian workplaces. First the Parliament, now in the legal profession. This can’t keep happening.
“We know that we have a serious problem. We know that for many, the workplace is not a safe place, and that they don’t have adequate options for recourse. This has to change.
“The Australian Human Rights Commission has found that 71% of Australians have been sexually harassed at some point in their lives. This is a horrifying statistic. Report after report has told us what needs to be done to put an end to discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and if the Government won’t step up and get it done then the Greens will.
“The behaviour described in these reports is disturbing and appalling. As a Parliament we have a duty to ensure it stops.