The President of the Fair Work Commission has published a statement setting out the consultation and engagement process the Commission is undertaking in order to implement changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 made by the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Act 2021 (the Respect at Work Amendment Act).
The Respect at Work Amendment Act commenced on 11 September 2021.
It extends Part 6-4B of the Fair Work Act so that in addition to the Commission’s existing power to make orders to prevent a worker being bullied at work, the Commission can make orders to prevent a worker being sexually harassed at work (or being both bullied and sexually harassed at work).
Applications for orders to stop sexual harassment can be made to the Commission from 11 November 2021.
The President is considering making some changes to the Fair Work Commission Rules 2013.
The rules relating to applications for orders to stop bullying would be changed so that they also deal with applications for orders to stop sexual harassment (and applications for orders to stop both bullying and sexual harassment).
The President also proposes to change the Commission forms relating to applications for orders to stop bullying (Form F72, Form F73 and Form F74) so that they also deal with applications for orders to stop sexual harassment (and applications for orders to stop both bullying and sexual harassment).
The proposed changes to the Rules would reflect the changes to the Commission forms.
The Commission has also prepared a new draft Orders to stop sexual harassment benchbook.
The benchbook contains plain language summaries of the key principles of stopping sexual harassment at work. It is intended to help parties prepare for a sexual harassment case before the Commission.