There are many aspects to consider when addressing the issue of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Deloitte has brought together a unique group of leaders to provide insights into how organisations can appropriately prevent, investigate and remediate workplace sexual harassment.
Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace is not new. A survey conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2018, revealed that 39% of women and 26% of men had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the last 5 years. Of this, only 17% of people made a formal report or complaint about the harassment. This reflects a tragic narrative known all too well: workplace sexual harassment remains prevalent, poorly understood and commonly underreported.
In 2018, Deloitte’s Access Economics team conducted research into the economic impact sexual harassment has on the Australian Economy. Their report revealed that sexual harassment costs the economy approximately $3.6B per annum, with $2.6B alone attributed to lost productivity resulting from incidents.
So, what must an organisation consider to address sexual harassment?
In taking the above actions, organisations will be better positioned to prevent, respond to and remedy incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace. To ensure enduring change, it is important that organisations provide employees with consistent reinforcement about what the right standard of behaviour is with visible follow-through. This is a fundamental prerequisite to drive change throughout any organisation.
We know that employers can play a significant role creating systemic change across industries and the economy. By supporting new attitudes to masculinity and driving acceptable behaviour, both at work and outside work, organisations can play a key role in ending sexual harassment within the workplace.
Deloitte has brought together a diverse team who have deep experience in dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace for corporations in Australia and globally: