Workplace creeps will face tough new penalties under a new Victorian government plan.
There are also plans to increase funding for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC).
The Commission will then expand its role to provide sexual harassment and discrimination training in workplaces.
WorkSafe Victoria investigators will complete “respectful relationship” courses and other gender-equality training, as a result.
Workplace creeps to face tough new penalties
The VEOHRC reports a 20 percent increase in sexual harassment complaints in addition to a 31 percent increase in sex discrimination claims.
Commissioner Kristen Hilton said the increase in reporting of incidents is understandable.
It coincides with a number of high profile harassment cases brought to light as a result of the #MeToo movement.
“It is encouraging to see a public debate to stamp out sexual harassment, and change behaviours that enable it and allow it to go unreported.”
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Victorian Labor’s policy platform in the lead up to last year’s election declared that existing laws had failed to protect workers from sexual harassment.
The party said:
“It’s clear that despite 30 years of sex discrimination and harassment legislation, existing laws are not keeping women safe or providing adequate recourse when they want to challenge sexual harassment in the workplace.
“Instead, a victim-blaming culture continues to pervade the prosecution and accountability of businesses for sexual harassment, violence and discrimination.”
Anything that reduces sexual harassment is a good thing
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan welcomed the proposed changes.
“The Victorian government is taking proactive steps to address a serious problem in the community,” he said.
“It is encouraging to see our political leaders recognise that current laws are not effective, and consequently, are doing something about it.”
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