Forces amass against the prevention of workplace sexual harassment

Most of Australia’s media has cooled its reporting on the sexual harassment law reforms championed by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins. Partly this relates to revised laws being proposed in Parliament later this year and that are currently subject to a Senate Committee Inquiry. The media coverage on the proposed laws and the senate …

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Resilience = the enemy of the Duty of Care

Last year Professor Michael Quinlan and Dr Elsa Underhill wrote about how precarious work arrangements had contributed to the spread and prevalence of COVI19 in Australia and its workplaces. Soon Australia’s Treasurer, Josh Frydenburg, will announce his 2021-22 Budget strategy. It is forecast to include big government spending and in many different areas of Australian …

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International perspective on bullying and harassment

In April 2021 the International Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment conducted its 2002 conference online. The conference was enlightening for its inclusivity. Many Western countries categorise work-related mental health as if they have minimal overlap. Workplace bullying is often seen as its own discipline with its own guidances, analyses and supporting industries. This can …

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The hill that OHS needs to climb for respectability remains a mountain

The current Australian debate about sexual harassment at work illustrates the forces ranged against occupational health and safety (OHS) being seen as a legitimate approach to preventing psychological harm. Entrenched Industrial Relations perspectives appear to be the biggest barrier. Such barriers are not always intentional and have evolved over years and decades as cultures and …

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Should we feel safe or be safe?

A major impediment to establishing safe and healthy workplaces is that there is a widespread expectation for everyone to feel safe at work. Yet, the legislative occupational health and safety (OHS) obligation on employers and workers is for them to be safe. It is a significant difference, for the former addresses perception, and the latter …

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The PM expects Australian workplaces to be “as safe as possible”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has set the occupational health and safety (OHS) bar unachievably high for Australian businesses. Morrison is embroiled in a scandal about an alleged rape in a ministerial office, his knowledge of and response to it, and his government’s duty of care to political employees. Below is his response to this question …

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Parliamentary culture must change

Australia is in the midst of a murky investigation into an alleged rape that occurred out-of-hours in an office of a Federal Minister in Australia’s Parliament House. The incident has raised discussions and debates about workplace culture, the reporting of crimes, the uniqueness (?) of the parliamentary workplace, the rights of women, the role of …

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