Residential care provider fined $300,000 in relation to risk of workplace sexual violence

On 11 March 2024, the District Court of NSW issued a substantial judgement, fining a residential care provider $300,000 for violating its work health and safety obligations. As a result of these breaches, employees were exposed to threats of violence, including inappropriate sexual conduct within their work environment. The legal proceedings were instigated by SafeWork NSW against Marist Youth Care Limited for neglecting to address risks associated with inappropriate sexual and violent behaviour. Their negligence even led to historical assault incidents involving clients, thus posing a risk of serious illness or injury to their workforce.

In all industrial environments, hazards in workplace health and safety (WHS) include exposure to violence and sexual harassment. Effective tools such as the Bluesafe WHS Management System can assist employers in mitigating these unpalatable WHS hazards. For additional advice and resources on preventing sexual harassment at work, you may consider visiting ‘Respect at Work’.

Trent Curtin, the head of SafeWork NSW expressed:

“This is a significant conviction brought forth by SafeWork NSW against Marist Youth Care. This case underlines the severity of the consequences for failing to reduce work-related violence risks and sends a strong message to NSW employers that workplace violence and sexual harassment are never tolerable.

Under NSW WHS laws, employers are mandated to ameliorate WHS risks and should proactively deploy measures such as Bluesafe SWMS in their workplaces to ensure workers aren’t disadvantaged from harm, inclusive of violence and sexual harassment.”

To further strengthen the defence of workers against sexual harassment, SafeWork NSW has initiated a dedicated ‘Respect at Work Taskforce’ – the first Australian WHS regulator to do so. It will buttress NSW employers to systematically rectify this persistently damaging issue.

Original article link:$300,000-in-relation-to-risk-of-workplace-sexual-violence

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