Herald Sun

Bid to stamp out workplace sex offences

- KIERAN ROONEY

EMPLOYERS could be forced to report any instance of sexual harassment to WorkSafe under changes to be examined by the Andrews government.

The state government on Monday announced a new ministeria­l task force to explore reforms that could stamp out the scourge of sexual harassment in any workplace.

It will include a review of how employers are required to respond to complaints, with the state government flagging mandatory reporting of sexual harassment to WorkSafe would be considered.

The announceme­nt was made on Internatio­nal Women’s Day, with women making up most sexual harassment complaints and cases.

Workplace Safety Minister Ingrid Stitt said mandatory reporting was already required for other important issues such as COVID-19 cases and serious accidents.

“This is, in relation to sexual harassment, one other area that we want to look at and we want the task force to consider adding to that list,” she said.

Ms Stitt said one in three people had been sexually harassed in the workplace over the last five years but most of these incidents were not reported.

“That is an unacceptab­le situation and one that we need to urgently address,” she said.

The task force will consider ways to prevent the misuse of non disclosure agreements surroundin­g sexual harassment complaints.

WorkSafe and the Victorian Equal Opportunit­y and Human Rights Commission will also sign a new MOU to take a unified approach to the issue and share informatio­n.

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