FWC looking for feedback on sexual harassment jurisdiction

Commission releases implementation report as part of Secure Jobs Better Pay Act

FWC looking for feedback on sexual harassment jurisdiction

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has published a new implementation report regarding its expanded sexual harassment jurisdiction as set out in the Secure Jobs Better Pay Act 2022.

The release comes ahead of the FWC's role expansion starting March 6.

"The Implementation Report sets out information about the new jurisdiction and the commission's approach to implementation," Justice Adam Hatcher, FWC president, said in a statement.

The expansion is part of the recently passed Secure Jobs Better Pay Act in 2022, which inserts a new provision into the Fair Work Act on sexual harassment.

According to the provision, it is unlawful for a person to sexually harass another person, where:

  • the other person is a worker in a business or undertaking, seeking to become a worker in a particular business or undertaking, or conducting a business or undertaking; and
  • the harassment occurs in connection with the other person being a person of the relevant kind

Such incidents may be lodged the FWC, which will deal with the dispute, including by making a stop sexual harassment order.

"In most cases, a dispute about an alleged contravention of this part will be dealt with by a court only if the dispute has not been resolved by the FWC," the provision said.

The expanded role of the FWC under the Secure Jobs Better Pay Act satisfies one of the recommendations made by the landmark Respect@Work Work report, a national inquiry on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.

The report recommended a review of the Fair Work system to "ensure and clarify that sexual harassment, using the definition in the Sex Discrimination Act, is expressly prohibited."

Previously, the passing of the Respect at Work Amendment Act gave the FWC the authority to deal with applications for orders to stop sexual harassment.

Report feedback requested

The FWC is calling on the public to provide feedback on the newly released implementation report.

"The purpose of the implementation report is to support engagement and consultation with the commission's stakeholders and the public more generally about the implementation of the expanded jurisdiction, including on proposed procedural matters and draft materials," Hatcher said in a statement.

In particular, the FWC is seeking feedback on the following:

  • On Draft revised forms F72, F73, F74, and F80.
  • New forms F75, F76, F77, and F78
  • New forms F72A, F73A, and F74A
  • Proposed case management processes

"Feedback regarding these items is to be sent to [email protected] by 4 pm on Thursday 2 March 2023," Hatcher said.

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