||Issue No. 214||26 March 2004|
The Security Shift
Interview: Baby Bust
Safety: Dust To Dust
Bad Boss: Shaming in Print
National Focus: Work's Cripplin' Us
International: Bulk Bullies
History: The Battle for Kelly's Bush
Economics: Aid, Trade And Oil
Review: The Art Of Work
Poetry: Sew His Lips Together
But Will He Get the Trains To Run On Time?
Uniting For Peace
Bosses Touched Up With Wet Lettuce
The threat came from Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Pru Goward after the results of a national phone survey revealed that one in four Australians, the vast majority of them women, has been sexually harassed at work.
The survey conducted by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission also showed that very few people who experience sexual harassment lodge a complaint.
Pru Goward admitted she was surprised by the results, so surprised it seems that she's at a loss to do anything about it, apart from "give employers a chance to change."
With twenty years of anti sexual harassment laws in Australia, it would be fair to conclude that bosses have been given plenty of chances to change and lessen the incidence of sexual harassment.
ACTU Industrial Officer Cath Bowtell thinks that it's time for some action.
"We've had two decades of encouraging best practice and there's been no behavioral change. There's only so much encouraging you can do." Bowtell says the problem with sexual harassment legislation is that it's complaints driven.
"If you're sexually harassed, you can complain about it, go to court and have it dealt with. But this is obviously not acting as a deterrent. What we need is more emphasis on prevention."
Pru Goward also thinks that something needs to be done in the area of prevention, but wants to leave it to the bosses to do something about it.
Fat chance Pru! Sexual harassment is hardly a new phenomenon and employers have known for a long time that it's unacceptable and illegal and there seems to be very little change.
"It's extremely naïve to think that the vast majority of employers are going to address this problem if we leave it up to them. That's not the way the world works. If she's really serious about this Pru Goward and the Federal government need to introduce measures that center on prevention. We owe it to the countless number of women who suffer sexual harassment at their work on a daily basis."
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