Webinar – New Unimutual ConstitutionFebruary 9, 2024
Preventing and Responding to Discrimination and Harassment in the Tertiary Sector
Presented by by Sian Gilbert (Partner) and Atticus Saunders (Associate) from Wotton + Kearney.
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The Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report (2020) revealed that over a third of respondents had experienced sexual harassment at work. Within the context of the education and training sector, the prevalence was almost 40%.
Tertiary education providers occupy a complex and multifaceted role in addressing sexual harassment and discrimination. In this respect, higher education providers are not only required to respond as employers in often large, diverse and disseminated organisations, but also play an integral role in driving change through the provision of education and training. The latter is most clearly articulated in recommendation 11 of the Report (endorsed by TEQSA) which recommends that higher education providers, in addition to education and training aimed enhancing prevention of and responses to sexual assault and sexual harassment within the context of student welfare also “deliver evidence-based information and training on sexual harassment for staff and students that addresses the drivers of gender-based violence and includes content on workplace rights”. As of December 2023, the legal obligations in respect of such workplace rights was expanded to impose on employers a positive duty to prevent sexual harassment.
With a particular focus on the tertiary sector, this presentation discusses the genesis and contents of that positive duty to prevent sexual harassment as well as practical steps that may be taken to discharge it.
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