Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick has called for greater powers to proactively investigate workplaces and sectors where sexual harassment is prevalent, instead of relying solely on complaints.
A NSW employer that allegedly told a worker to "bear the consequences" of her "inconvenient" pregnancy, is facing fines of up to $231,000 following the launch of the Fair Work Ombudsman's first pregnancy discrimination case.
When employers are convinced that a worker's claim against them is totally without merit, they should consider defending themselves "as a matter of principle", says Minter Ellison partner Richard West.
HR managers could be found personally liable for bullying and harassment at work, under the national OHS framework, if they fail to take steps to prevent it, according to Hicksons Lawyers partner Brad Swebeck.
Fair Work Australia's first ruling on an adverse action claim sends a strong message to employers that they must "meticulously" document the reasons behind every decision that affects employees, says employment lawyer Lisa Berton.
Romantic relationships in the workplace can create a legal "minefield", but policies that are too prescriptive can offend employees, send the wrong message and weaken a company's competitive edge, says HR commentator Kate Southam.