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Workplace Sexual Harassment Prohibited from 6 March 2023


The Fair Work Legislation Amendment Act 2022 (Secure Jobs Better Pay) has expanded protections from sexual harassment to protect:

  • workers, including employees, contractors, work experience students and volunteers
  • future workers
  • people conducting a business or undertaking.

These protections came into effect on 6 March 2023 and won’t apply to sexual harassment that started prior to 6 March 2023.

It is important to note that person or company can now be held liable for sexual harassment conducted by its employee or agent in connection with work, unless they can prove that all reasonable steps were taken to prevent the sexual harassment. You can obtain more information about sexual harassment in the workplace here.

New Powers of the Fair Works Commission to deal with sexual harassment:

In addition to the Commissions powers to issue ‘Stop Sexual Harassment Orders’ the Commission can now deal with a dispute referred to it by mediation, conciliation or expressing an opinion or comment on the matter.

If the dispute cannot be resolved this way, the Commission can deal with the matter by arbitration if both parties agree. In these circumstances the Commission now has the power to make an order:

  • for compensation or lost wages
  • requiring a person to do something that’s reasonable to remedy any loss or damage suffered.

An application for the Commission to deal with a sexual harassment matter can be made by:

  • a person or group of people alleging sexual harassment (such as a worker or group of workers), or
  • an industrial association, such as a union, on behalf of their member or members.

If you have any questions please reach out to our Workplace Relations and Legal Team on (02) 6175 5900.