With the Australian Human Rights Commission’s powers in relation to the positive duty under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) commencing today, businesses and organisations should be asking: Do we have records of compliance?

Such records will be essential to prove to the Commission that action has been taken towards compliance and that compliance has been achieved, says Ai Group Workplace Lawyers Special Counsel Amber Roncoroni.

Additionally, records of compliance will be crucial for businesses and organisations should vicarious liability for unlawful workplace behaviour under the Sex Discrimination Act become an issue.

What is a record of compliance?

A key form of a record of compliance is a prevention and response plan that ties together and records what the business or organisation has done and intends to do to comply with the positive duty.

“A plan is essential, given the complexity and significance of the work required in this area,” Ms Roncoroni said.

“Now is the time for businesses and organisations to review their actions to date and what needs to be done, alongside their actions in relation to psychosocial hazards in the work health and safety space.”

Ms Roncoroni said businesses and organisations might be struggling to understand where to start, and that thinking about compliance from the perspective of records of compliance and the seven standards in the Guidelines for Complying with the Positive Duty under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) could be helpful.  

Ai Group Workplace Lawyers can help

Ai Group Workplace Lawyers has assisted many businesses and organisations to prepare for the positive duty.

“We have done this by providing up-to-date and modern Respect@Work training and risk assessments,” Ms Roncoroni said.

“However, there is still much to do. Businesses and organisations need to be aware that the Australian Human Rights Commission will be considering whether businesses and organisations have spent enough on prevention of sexual harassment and other forms of unlawful workplace behaviour.

“Further, traditional approaches to compliance which focus on off-the-shelf training and standard policies and procedures are unlikely to be sufficient for most businesses from a compliance perspective.”

Unsure where to start? Ai Group Workplace Lawyers can help your organisation structure compliance and prepare records of compliance. Get in touch here.

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