Preventing sexual harassment at Work

Public news

The Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Act 2021 (Cth) received Royal Assent on 10 September 2021 and commenced on 11 September 2021.

In summary, the changes to the Fair Work Act are:

•The stop-bullying jurisdiction in Part 6-4B of the Fair Work Act is extended so that the Commission can make orders to stop sexual harassment in the workplace. Applications for such orders can be made to the Commission from 11 November 2021.

  • A new legislative note inserted at s.387 makes clear that sexual harassment can constitute a valid reason for dismissal.
  • NES compassionate leave entitlements are amended so that an employee can take up to 2 days of compassionate leave if the employee, or their spouse or de facto partner, has a miscarriage.

Justice Ross of the Fair Work Commission has been appointed as the National Practice Leader for stop-bullying and sexual harassment. Commissioner McKinnon is the Deputy Practice Leader. Commission staff with experience in case management of applications for orders to stop bullying will also manage applications for orders to stop sexual harassment. The current intensive case management model which is underpinned by the principles of trauma-informed practice will continue to apply.

Detailed information on the Commission’s role in dealing with applications to stop sexual harassment at work will be available on the Commission’s website from 11 November 2021.

If you have questions about the changes or sexual harassment or discrimination in general, contact the WR team to assist, on 8291 2000 or at