This report presents research into the collection and reporting of workplace data relevant to sexual harassment by ASX200 companies. The research, led by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, on behalf of Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI), is based on a comprehensive survey of 118 ASX200 companies, as well as in-depth interviews with representatives of 16 ASX200 companies. The report provides insights into how companies currently collect and use data relating to sexual harassment, and based on those insights, makes recommendations about the role the boards of large Australian companies can and should play in preventing and responding to workplace sexual harassment. Additionally, the report highlights actions investors can take to manage financial risks associated with workplace sexual harassment within investee companies.
Clearly, collection of information alone is not enough to prevent and address sexual harassment. The report finds a range of maturity across the ASX200 companies when it comes to using the information to manage this material risk. Information must be analysed, shared and acted upon for it to be useful. If information is not appropriately escalated within an organisation, risk cannot be effectively and proactively managed by those responsible.
The report recommends that boards focus on oversight of prevention of as well as response to sexual harassment. Boards should take primary responsibility and accountability for ensuring the company has in place a governance framework for sexual harassment, and for monitoring performance against this framework across the organisation. The board should also clearly identify the information it expects to receive in monitoring performance, including information to assess how effective the organisation’s systems are in preventing, as well as responding to, sexual harassment.