On 12 December 2017, part of Australia’s screen and television industry held a forum in Sydney about sexual harassment in the sector and what could be done to reduce this workplace hazard. This initiative occurred a day before an open letter was published about sexual harassment in the music industry. There is a momentum for change on sexual harassment in the workplace, but it is at risk of resulting in a fragmented approach which will generate turf wars, confusion and, ultimately, ineffectiveness.
The community and media responses to the Australian Human Rights Commission report into sexual assault and harassment in Australian universities continue but until the Australian Government responds, it is unclear how the risks will be reduced, particularly as many members of the current Federal Government have been openly hostile to the AHRC and its previous Commissioner, Gillian Triggs. After having rubbished the Commissioner and the institution, how will the government respond?
Following on from the very popular SafetyAtWorkBlog article about the report yesterday, it is worth looking at the AHRC recommendations in the occupational health and safety (OHS) context.
It should be noted that OHS places the principal responsibility on the employer, in this instance, the universities and the Vice-Chancellors. Some have already started to call on the government to play a role, with implications that it should be leading the change: Continue reading “University sexual assault – an OHS perspective”
The Australian Human Rights Commission has released a report into the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault in Australia’s university campuses. It has revealed some shocking statistics and brings Australian universities into the global phenomenon of reassessing university obligations for the modern world.
Australia’s occupational health and safety laws and obligations could be used as a structure for preventing assaults and harassment if the government and universities would be brave enough to use them.
The Australian Financial Review for 31 July 2017 included an article (paywalled) reporting on unfair dismissal proceedings involving a first aid officer, Audrey Gatt, at Crown Resort‘s casino and entertainment complex in Melbourne, Australia. The article includes allegations by Gatt that First Aid was withheld from injured workers and patrons.
Every government releases a great deal of information, particularly around budget time and occupational health and safety (OHS) funding often gets missed in the overviews and media discussion. The Victorian Government’s budget papers (Budget Paper No. 3 – Service Delivery) for 2017 included A$3 million to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for
“Addressing occupational violence against health workers and workplace bullying” (page 78)
There is no doubt that such funding will help improve OHS but it also seems odd, given some of the recent incidents and riots, the corrections and prison services received no specific OHS funding. The introduction of “a trial of independent workplace facilitators” is also intriguing.
Continue reading “How will “independent workplace facilitators” improve OHS?”