Australia continues to develop various Codes and Guidances for the prevention and management of sexual harassment, particularly in the creative industries. America’s Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) released some guidance about its Code of Conduct on April 12 2018. It is educative but Australia can do better.
A positive in SAG’s announcement is that it clearly places sexual harassment under the category of workplace safety which allows for a broad approach to the hazard and one that is supported by legislation and an employer’s duty of care.
Australia’s Fair Work Commission (FWC) has released the latest (March 2018) edition of its Anti-Bullying Benchbook. This is a regularly published document that offers background to its decisions and definitions used by the FWC through case studies and plain-English explanations. The Benchbook clearly states that any occupational health and safety (OHS) issues are to be directed to the relevant OHS regulator but the book provides useful insight to a more (and limited) industrial relations approach to workplace bullying.
A major attraction of the
Screen Australia has released its sexual harassment code of conduct. If any film project in Australia desires government funding it will need to comply with this Code. The Code is a good starting point and will need support from a broad range of elements of the entertainment industry but this Code is indicative of problems with many such codes that see the issue as a legal one rather than a safety and cultural one.
The Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) is making serious efforts to increase its relevance to Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS) profession and the broader community. Around International Women’s Day, the SIA released a media statement calling for action on workplace bullying, harassment and abuse.
The annual Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) breakfast was held in conjunction with Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) law firm on 21 February 2018. This year the audience heard from two representatives of WorkSafe Victoria – Marnie Williams, the Executive Director and Paul Fowler, the Director of the Enforcement Group.
The WorkSafe presentations were interesting but included what was largely expected – an introduction to the recent Independent Review report and a reiteration of the WorkSafe Strategy 2030. (More on WorkSafe’s presentation in the next article)
Some of the more thought-provoking content came from HSF’s Steve Bell. He presented several issues and perspectives for consideration.