From flirting at work to complimenting staff on what they’re wearing: everything you need to know about Scott Morrison’s sweeping new changes about to hit YOUR workforce
Huge changes to Australia’s workplace laws are set to alter the office dynamic around the country for good with unwanted flirting becoming grounds for termination.
The definition of serious misconduct across all workplaces will be changed to include sexual harassment, which will also be a valid reason for dismissal.
Under human rights laws, the scope for complaints will be extended to two years, from six months, to give victims more time to come forward.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the changes were about changing the culture of Australian workplaces to keep all people safe.
‘Sexual harassment is unacceptable,’ he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.
‘It’s not only immoral and despicable and even criminal, but particularly in the context of the Respect at Work report, it denies Australians, especially women, not just their personal security but their economic security.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday announced the definition of serious misconduct across all workplaces will be changed to include sexual harassment, which will also be a valid reason for dismissal
The prime minister was asked about instances where people sometimes ‘struggle’ to know the difference between flirting and sexual harassment.
He responded: ‘I think in many cases, we’re dealing with unconscious behaviour and we want to help inform that behaviour.’
‘I think people will happily change their behaviour if they were aware that some of their unconscious acts could be leading to that sense of hurt or dismissal with their fellow Australians.’
Mr Morrison said there were other instances that are ‘malevolent’ and ‘predatory’.
‘In other cases, it’s violent and I think those – those lines are a lot clearer and I think what we’re doing here today brings further force to deal particularly with those types of behaviours,’ he said.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in circumstances where a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would anticipate the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.
Sexual harassment can include:
unwelcome touching, hugging, cornering or kissing
inappropriate staring or leering
suggestive comments or jokes
using suggestive or sexualised nicknames for co-workers
sexually explicit pictures, posters or gifts
circulating sexually explicit material
persistent unwanted invitations to go out on dates
requests or pressure for sex
intrusive questions or comments about a person’s private life or body
insults or taunts based on sex
Unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person
sexual gestures or indecent exposure
following, watching or loitering nearby another person
sexually explicit or indecent physical contact
sexually explicit or indecent emails, phone calls, text messages or online interactions
repeated or inappropriate advances online
threatening to share intimate images or film without consent
actual or attempted rape or sexual assault
Source: Safe Work Australia