Enough is Enough report recommends changes to Equal Opportunity Act

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The WA Parliamentary report into sexual harassment against women in the FIFO mining industry was released today with recommendations supported by WA Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, Dr John Byrne.
Girl at desk pushing away unwanted advances

Among its 24 recommendations, the Enough is Enough report recommends reversing the onus of proof in sexual harassment complaints under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984, so often traumatised victims do not have the burden of proving the sexual harassment put them at a disadvantage in the workplace.

"Victims of sexual harassment are often placed in difficult positions if they complain about a manager or an employer and are therefore reluctant to make a complaint.

"At the moment the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 requires victims of sexual harassment to prove the perpetrator’s behaviour put them at a disadvantage in connection to their employment for their complaint to succeed," he said.

He said the onus should be placed on employers to show they had taken all necessary steps to prevent the behaviour from happening and that sexual harassment in itself was enough to place workers at a disadvantage.

"Throughout the report we heard stories of women feeling unsafe in a top-heavy male environment where sexual harassment was considered part of the workplace culture," Dr Byrne said.

He said no one should feel unsafe while attempting to undertake their daily work tasks. 

"It is a human rights issue and a productivity issue and I cannot believe it has been allowed to go on for so long," Dr Byrne said.

Page reviewed 23 June 2022