If you sexually harass workers, you're endangering their workplace health and safety. If you're a boss who fails to address workers' sexual harassment issues, you're failing in your obligation to provide a safe workplace.
A company director is facing two charges of breaching the OHS Act, after failing to adequately respond to seven workers raising issues of workplace sexual harassment. A worker aged in his 20s has also been charged for actions endangering others at the workplace.
This is the first time charges have been laid over sexual harassment under the Act, and a long overdue acknowledgement that sexual harassment and other forms of gendered violence are a significant risk to the health and safety of workers.
WorkSafe reports that
The director, aged in his 50s, faces two charges under section 26(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in relation to seven workers for failing to ensure that, as far as is reasonably practicable, the workplace was without risks to health.
A worker, aged in his 20s, is charged with a single breach of section 25(1)(b) of the OHS Act for failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of a person who may be affected by their acts or omissions at a workplace.
Victorian unionists have led the charge to have gendered violence recognised as an OHS issue. These charges are the result of years of work by workers in union.
Under the OHS Act, duty holders must take all reasonably practicable steps to protect workers from physical and mental injury. This includes taking all reasonable steps to prevent and effectively deal with sexual harassment in the workplace.