Australia clamps down on workplace harassment and violence

A newly tabled convention includes legislation that mandates employers to maintain workplace policies against harassment and violence.
By: | November 22, 2022

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has tabled International Labour Convention 190 in parliament so Australia can adopt a zero-tolerance approach to violence and harassment. The convention recognises violence and harassment in the workplace can constitute a human rights violation or abuse. 

The instrument covers all workers, even job applicants, and calls on nations that ratify it to develop and implement comprehensive national legislation. 

This includes prevention measures, complaint mechanisms, ways to monitor for breaches and enforce the laws, and legislation to mandate employers maintain workplace policies against violence and harassment.

Thanking the Australian Council of Trade Unions for their advocacy in getting the convention adopted in Australia, Albanese said the move is not only crucial to stamping out harassment and increasing equality, but is also vital to economic reform. 

The announcement marked Albanese’s six-month anniversary in the role of Prime Minister and comes two weeks after reforms recommended in the 2020 Respect@Work report passed through the House of Representatives. 

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“(Tabling the convention in parliament) is the first formal step towards Australia ratifying this important convention,” he said. “A statement from our nation affirming the right of every person to a work culture based on ‘mutual respect and dignity’. 

“And the right to a work environment, free from the threat of violence or harassment. Because whenever we talk about safety in the workplace, that must include the right of every worker to be safe from sexual harassment,” reported The Australian.