New Guidelines To Combat Gendered Violence At Work

Employers turning a blind eye to gendered violence are on notice, with the Andrews Labor Government introducing new guidance to help eradicate this unacceptable behaviour from Victorian workplaces.

Women, members of the LGBTIQA+ community, migrants and persons with a disability are more likely to experience gendered violence as well as when a person faces multiple forms of discrimination.

The guidance provides information on identifying, preventing and responding to gendered violence in the workplace, which can range from comments and gestures through to sexual assault and rape.

Work-related gendered violence is any behaviour affecting a person because of their sex, gender or sexual orientation, or because they don’t adhere to socially prescribed gender roles, that creates a risk to health and safety. This can include:

  • Stalking, intimidation or threats
  • Verbal abuse
  • Ostracism or exclusion
  • Offensive language and imagery
  • Put downs, innuendo and insinuations
  • Someone being undermined in their role.

Victorian employers face serious consequences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act if they fail to provide a safe working environment.

WorkSafe has developed A Guide for employers: Work-related gendered violence including sexual harassment in consultation with the Victorian Trades Hall Council and other employer and employee representative groups.

Where there is a risk of work-related gendered violence causing physical or mental injury, employers have an obligation under the OHS Act to control that risk, in addition to their obligations under the Equal Opportunity Act.

For support dealing with gendered violence in the workplace, find the guidance at worksafe.vic.gov.au/resources.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Workplace Safety Jill Hennessy

“More than 60 per cent of women in Victoria have experienced some form of gendered violence at work and have felt at risk in their workplaces – we all have a responsibility to do more to address this.”

“These guidelines make clear the types of behaviour that are unacceptable and what employers can do address them and change attitudes.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams

“It’s unacceptable that women still experience violence at work – these guidelines are a welcome step forward in making sure employers are aware of their obligations to keep all employees safe.”

Quote attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Safety Natalie Hutchins

“Every Victorian has the right to go to work and be treated with dignity, respect and fairness whatever their sex, gender or sexual orientation.”