Running throughout 2019, the initiative will examine legal professionals' experiences with sexual harassment. A statewide survey of law firms will help the Victorian Legal Services Board to better understand the policies and procedures that firms use to prevent and manage sexual harassment, including their complaints processes.
Through this initiative, the Commission will work closely with the Victorian Legal Services Board, WorkSafe and other authorities to ensure sexual harassment in the legal sector is addressed at a systemic level, and to develop engagement and education activities. In 2019 the Commission will also update its guideline on complying with the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.
"We know that sexual harassment occurs in all sorts of workplaces, in education, and in the supply of goods and services. To address it effectively, we need to really delve into the underlying causes and impacts, and what can be done to prevent it and respond effectively when it occurs," said Kristen Hilton, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner.
"Reviews like the Victorian Legal Services Board initiative are important in identifying the drivers of sexual harassment, encouraging law firms and legal professionals to be accountable for their workplace practices and providing proper redress for victims," Commissioner Hilton said.
The Commission plays an important role in broadening Victorians' understanding of sexual harassment and advocating for robust protections against sexual harassment.
The Commission's complaints service offers free, fair and timely dispute resolution for people who have been discriminated against, harassed or vilified, while its guidance and projects such as Raise It!: Conversations about sexual harassment and workplace equality equip workers and employers with the skills they need to tackle difficult topics like sexual harassment, discrimination, pregnancy and parental leave.
Through its landmark reviews, the Commission works closely with employers in key industries to identify the causes of sexual harassment, appropriate responses and how they can effect positive change in their workplace culture.
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