Workplace sexual harassment is prevalent and pervasive: it occurs in every industry, in every location and at every level, in Australian workplaces. Australians, across the country, are suffering the financial, social, emotional, physical and psychological harm associated with sexual harassment. This is particularly so for women.
This behaviour also represents a very real financial impost to the economy through lost productivity, staff turnover and other associated impacts.
In June 2018, against the backdrop of the momentum of the #MeToo movement and recognition of the prevalence of, and immense harm caused by sexual harassment in Australian and global workplaces, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, and the then Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer, announced the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces.
In the Terms of Reference, the Commission’s task was to review and report on workplace sexual harassment and make recommendations in relation to:
- its prevalence, nature and reporting in Australian workplaces
- the role of technology
- its drivers, including risk factors for particular population groups or in different workplace settings
- the current legal framework
- existing measures to address it and examples of good practice
- its impacts on individuals and businesses, including its economic impact.
This report outlines the Commission’s findings and recommendations.