sexual harassment

Termination of the Employment Relationship

In our final publication of the Back-to-Basics Series, we look at the ways in which an employment relationship can be concluded and the specific steps to follow in order to avoid seeing the inside of a courtroom and/or making substantial unplanned financial contributions to the outbound employee’s bank balance. Furthermore, careful management when bringing an employment relationship to an end, for whatever reason, can be achieved so that the departing employee does not leave disgruntled and likely to damage the business’ reputation.

Labour’s New Amibitious Labour Laws

The industrial landscape of Australia has changed rapidly in recent years, with the evolution of the gig-economy and business’ over-reliance on labour hire arrangements and the increasing casualisation of the workforce. This shift has exacerbated insidious consequences such as prolific wage theft, gender inequality, and job insecurity. The new Labour Government headed by Anthony Albanese (“Labour”) is taking direct aim at some of these issues, with a series of vision statements and plans that espouse commitment to stamping out sexual harassment at work, improving job security, facilitating pathways to permanent work, and securing equal pay.

Do Employers Owe a Positive Duty to Prevent Sexual Harassment at Work?

In 2018, sexual harassment was at the forefront of the public psyche. In response to an industrial landscape rife with sexual harassment, the Respect@Work campaign was launched. After two years of research, in March 2020, the Australian Human Rights Commission (“AHRC”) released the Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report (“the Report”) which made 55 recommendations to prevent sexual harassment and to improve responses to complaints. Among these recommendations was the concept of imposing a ‘positive’ duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. The rationale was that this approach will lighten the burden on victims and attempt to overcome circumstances where employees feel they are unable to make complaints or adequately resolve issues, due to fears around job security or being treated differently.

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