In our submission to the National Inquiry into Workplace Sexual Harassment, we call for the ‘positive duty’ under the Equal Opportunity Act to be made enforceable. Doing so would make employers, educators, providers of goods and services, and others accountable for not just dealing with complaints when they arise, but for proactively preventing sexual harassment from occurring.
We are also calling for increased powers to investigate possible contraventions of the Equal Opportunity Act and to undertake own-motion public inquiries, as well as the power to seek enforceable undertakings and issue compliance notices to remedy a breach and hold employers to account.
Our five-point plan
As part of our submission, we’ve developed a five-point plan – a roadmap for addressing sexual harassment at work. We recommend legislative change, strengthened victim-centric responses and tailored prevention programs that promote cultural change and respectful workplaces.
Acknowledge sexual harassment is a symptom of gender inequality and a form of violence against women
Responses to sexual harassment should address its root causes, including discrimination, stereotyping and other gendered attitudes.
Existing programs and strategies that address violence against women should include a focus on sexual harassment.
A robust gender equality law that promotes substantive equality at work should be enacted and integrated into a national prevention strategy with dedicated investment.
Our other work on gender equality
The Commission’s four strategic priorities are: embedding a human rights culture, improving workplace equality, protecting human rights in closed environments and reducing racism.
These priorities drive our vision for a fair, safe and inclusive Victoria.
In the area of improving workplace equality, we have committed to:
- contributing to Victorian Government initiatives and committees designed to prevent and respond to gender inequality
- partnering with employers through our education and consultancy service to identify the drivers for workplace inequality and implement structural and cultural changes to increase equality and diversity
- providing victims of sex discrimination and sexual harassment with a confidential, accessible and effective conciliation process to resolve complaints
- continuing our landmark independent review work into the nature, prevalence and impact of discrimination and sexual harassment in key sectors.
We have identified the workplace as an important setting to address sex discrimination and sexual harassment, and promote gender equality. However, our work covers all areas of public life, such as the provision of goods and services, education, sport and the provision of accommodation.
We also seek to address gender inequality through our work to realise our three remaining strategic priorities.
Examples of our work on gender equality
- Independent Review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour, in Victoria Police
- Raise it! Conversations about sexual harassment and workplace equality
- Consultancy work
- Information on sex discrimination and sexual harassment
Contact the Commission
Our dispute resolution service is free and confidential. We can send you information about the complaint process and if we can’t help you we will try to refer you to someone who can.
To make a complaint:
- call our Enquiry Line on 1300 292 153 or email [email protected]. We also have a free interpreter service
- submit your complaint online or download our complaint form (DOC, 230KB)
- chat to us online
Find out more about making a complaint.