Australia

Changes to Sex Discrimination Act are ‘not a radical overhaul’: Experts

Prominent legal experts say that the federal government’s expansion of sexism law to include politicians and judges is not yet sufficient.

Instead, they want a “dramatic review” of the law.

That was after the federal government announced Thursday Amend the Sex Discrimination Act to include politicians and judges, Those who were previously exempt from the law.

The government also said it would adopt all 55 recommendations contained in Respect in the workplace Report in whole or in part.

So what are the changes?

Major changes to the Fair Labor Law and the Sex Discrimination Law:

  • For the first time, parliamentarians, judges, and state officials who are sexually harassing staff and colleagues are responsible.
  • Sexual harassment is included as a valid reason to dismiss someone
  • The definition of “serious illegal activity” in the Fair Labor Law includes sexual harassment.
  • “Bullying Stop Order” will be available in the context of sexual harassment
  • People are given two years to file a complaint with the Australian Commission on Human Rights, extending the current six-month deadline.

Why were parliamentarians and judges exempted in the first place?

It wasn’t intentional, legal experts said New Daily.

Karen O’Connell, an associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney, said judges and lawmakers were excluded because the previous law had a narrow definition of “workplace participants.”

“Judges and lawmakers who are neither standard employers nor employees did not fit into that,” said Professor O’Connell.

“They weren’t chosen.”

Is the change going well enough?

Not according to Professor O’Connell, who helped Kate Jenkins of the Sexist Commission prepare her landmark Respect in the workplace report.

“The main thing I wanted them to do was a positive obligation in law with enforcement,” she said.

Under this model, she said the employer is responsible for creating a workplace where sexual harassment is prevented, rather than relying on victims to “report across various hurdles.”

The government has agreed to this change in principle, but Attorney General Michelia Cash has indicated that it may not yet be legislated.

“Employers under the Industrial Safety and Health Act already have positive obligations,” Cash said.

“We want consistency and we want to reduce complexity, so let’s look at how we can do that with sexist law, but we’ll make the system more complex and where Don’t confuse people about where to go. “

Attorney General Michelia Cash said changes to the sex discrimination law would be introduced into Congress this year. Photo: ABC News / David Sciasci

But Professor O’Connell said this was not enough.

“The workplace health and safety system takes care of health and safety,” she said.

“I don’t think the system has the subtle idea of ​​including the scope of sexual harassment as a health and safety issue.”

Simon Rice is a law professor at the University of Sydney and co-author of a book on sexism. Australia’s Anti-Discrimination Law and Equal Opportunity Law.

He said a dramatic review of sexism law would be “really exciting,” but that’s not what’s happening.

“This is an old law. People need to be aware that it adds another barnacle to the old boat,” he said.

“So they’re going to add Congress and Courts to the definition of employer. This isn’t a radical overhaul. It’s just extending coverage to another group of people.

“That’s good, but not radical. A serious review would redefine harassment and ban it in public.”



Changes to Sex Discrimination Act are ‘not a radical overhaul’: Experts Source link Changes to Sex Discrimination Act are ‘not a radical overhaul’: Experts

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