Risk assessment and transparency
This section provides information and tools for organisations to help them identify and take action on sexual harassment in the workplace.
All organisations carry risks for sexual harassment in the workplace. No organisation, however big or small, is immune from the risks of sexual harassment. Where there are power imbalances and gender inequality, there are risks that need to be identified and addressed. An important task, therefore, for all organisations, is to understand how to identify and address risks of sexual harassment that are specific to their workplace.
Without detracting from the core priority of preventing the profound impacts of sexual harassment on an individual’s health and wellbeing, personal finances, and career, it is important also to acknowledge that the occurrence of workplace sexual harassment often has broader financial, productivity, cultural, legal and reputational impacts for organisations.
Traditionally, the term risk assessment has been associated with larger workplaces and allied to work health and safety processes, whereby employers must actively identify, assess and control work hazards that may affect the physical or psychological health and safety of workers. Risk assessment, however, is not something that is only done by large organisations under the banner of work, health and safety, and it need not be too difficult for small organisations to conduct risk assessments specific to sexual harassment. After all, risk assessment is simply about identifying the risk of sexual harassment and putting in place actions to eliminate or minimise that risk.
In this section we will use the Safe Work Australia framework for risk management and apply that specifically to sexual harassment. This section focusses on:
- the risk management process for sexual harassment
- identifying workplace sexual harassment in your context
- assessing risks
- controlling and reviewing risks, and
Throughout this section we will refer to the risk management process for sexual harassment. Start with the overview of the risk management model and then move onto the other sections for practical tools and resources to help you identify and address risks of sexual harassment in your workplace.