Respect@Work: Positive duty guidance launched

2 minute read  10.08.2023 Amanda Watt, Jennifer Bourke

The Australian Human Rights Commission has just released practical guidance for organisations on how to comply with the positive duty under the Sex Discrimination Act.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has just released guidance for employers and ‘persons conducting a business or undertaking’ on how to comply with the new positive duty under section 47C of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).

What is the positive duty?

The positive duty requires employers and PCBUs to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate, as far as possible, sexual harassment, sex-based harassment, sex discrimination, conduct creating a workplace environment that is hostile on the ground of sex, and related acts of victimisation. From 12 December 2023, the Australian Human Rights Commission will have powers to enforce compliance with the positive duty. For more information about the positive duty, read our article on an emerging Australian system to prevent sexual harassment and hostile workplaces.

What is required for compliance with the positive duty?

The Commission’s guidance on the new positive duty sets out the practical actions the Commission expects organisations to take in order to comply with the positive duty, by setting seven clear standards applicable to all organisations.

The standards align with the seven domains of an effective prevention and response framework, identified in the 2020 Respect@Work report, and address:

  • Leadership
  • Culture
  • Knowledge
  • Risk management
  • Support
  • Reporting and response
  • Monitoring, evaluation and transparency.

The guidance also includes practical examples of actions duty holders can take to meet each of the standards, depending on the size, nature and circumstances of their business.

How can we help you?

We would be pleased to assist you in developing a Prevention and Response Plan tailored to your business, by working with you to identify practical actions that are likely to have the most impact in your organisation.

For more information on other services we offer, and how we can partner with you to foster a safe, respectful and inclusive working environment, please contact our team.