There is significant policy momentum in Australia to reduce reliance on fossil fuels for energy production, with most States and Territories committing to emission-reduction targets.
The Fair Work Regulations 2009 (FW Regulations) have recently been varied to include sexual harassment as one of the factors that could be considered to be serious misconduct.
The change to the FW Regulations gives effect to recommendation 31 of the Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (Respect@Work Report).
The Respect@Work Report observed that the intention of recommendation 31 was to provide clarification to assist in ensuring that sexual harassment was understood by both employers and employees as conduct that was potentially serious enough to be inconsistent with the continuation of the employees’ employment and as a result may justify summary dismissal.
Members should note that this will not mean that sexual harassment will always constitute serious misconduct. Rather, whether the sexual harassment constitutes serious misconduct will likely depend on the seriousness of the conduct as is the case for other conduct already expressly outlined as serious misconduct in the FW Regulations (e.g. theft, intoxication, etc).
The change to the FW Regulations took effect from 10 July 2021.
If you have any questions please contact Phil Eberhard, Senior Workplace Relations Adviser, Master Plumbers, on 0425 790 722 or [email protected].