Ending workplace harassment: guidance from NHRIs

28 January 2022
People sitting in a meeting room in an office with laptops

National Human Rights Institutions from Australia and Great Britain have issued guidance to combat workplace harassment.

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) undertook a seven-month long inquiry into workers’ experiences in parliamentary workplaces. More than 1700 individual contributions such as interviews, survey responses and submissions revealed a a culture of power imbalances and unclear conduct standards, leading to a number of instances of workplace harassment.

Kate Jenkins, the AHRC’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner said:

Over half (51%) of all people currently in Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces (CPWs) have experienced at least one incident of bullying, sexual harassment or actual or attempted sexual assault in a CPW. That is unacceptably high.

Accompanying the findings of the inquiry, the AHRC has published a set of recommendations to improve CPWs, as well as a trauma-informed guide to support individuals and managers. While the guide is specifically targeted for CPWs, the resource offers a useful framework to address trauma caused by poor working environments. Read Set the Standard, the inquiry report, and accompanying materials on the AHRC’s website. 

Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) also published a guide for employers on reasonable steps they must take to prevent sexual harassment at work. The guide covers the requirements of equality law in this area, including:

  • developing an effective anti-harassment policy
  • assessing and minimising risk
  • engaging and training staff
  • what to do when a harassment complaint is made
  • dealing with third parties

Read the guidance on the EHRC’s website. 

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