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National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces - Submissions to the National Inquiry

Discrimination Sex Discrimination
Friday 5 July, 2019
  • FAQs – Submissions to the National Inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian…

    1. Can I make a submission?

    Submissions are now closed.

    The inquiry was open for submissions between July 2018 and February 2019.

    The project team has now commenced the analysis and writing phase of the inquiry.

    2. What information were you hoping to receive through submissions?

    The Commission called for submissions which addressed at least one of the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry as set out on the Inquiry webpage.

    In responding to the Terms of Reference, the Commission was very keen on hearing from organisations and from individuals, including employees, employers and members of the public, about experiences within Australian workplaces and suggestions for change.

    3. Will my submission be made public?

    Submissions to this Inquiry will be treated as confidential unless you ask that your submission be made public. We will not publish confidential submissions on our website. We may use material from confidential submissions, such as quotes, case studies or other references in the report produced as a result of the Inquiry. If we do this, we will remove any personal information so that you or other people referred to in your submission cannot be identified.

    We will not release confidential submissions to anyone without your consent unless required by law. Documents held by the Commission may be subject to a request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act). In the case of a request under the FOI Act there are likely to be relevant exemptions to production (including for material obtained in confidence and personal information). We would consult you about any FOI request before any decision was made about releasing information.

    If you wish to have your submission published on the Commission’s website, you must select the relevant option on the online form. Publication by the Commission is at the discretion of the Commission. We may decide not to publish submissions or to redact information in submissions, such as personal information, prior to publication. As such, please use pseudonyms, not real names, in your submission.

    4. How will my submission be used?

    Information collected through submissions (both public and confidential submissions) will be used for the purposes of the Commission’s Inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces and may be drawn upon, quoted or referred to in the Inquiry report. As noted above, if material from confidential submissions is used in this way, it will be de-identified. If information provided is included in the Inquiry report, it will be published under a Creative Commons licence and the contents of the report will be able to be used freely for other purposes. Submissions may also be used to inform future work by the Commission and the Sex Discrimination Commissioner in relation to sexual harassment.

    5. What if my current/former employer has not issued a limited waiver of confidentiality obligations in non-disclosure agreements or other agreements for the purpose of allowing people to make a confidential submission to the National Inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces?

    Following a request to employers from Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, the Commission has published on its website a list of organisations that have issued a limited waiver of confidentiality obligations in non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) or other agreements for the purpose of allowing people to make a confidential submission to the National Inquiry into Workplace Sexual Harassment.

    The Commission is not able to provide legal advice to people interested in making a submission. This includes advice about a person’s contractual obligations to a third party, such as confidentiality obligations under a settlement agreement.

    If you believe your submission to the National Inquiry will compromise your contractual obligations or have other legal implications, we encourage you to seek legal advice prior to making a submission.

    6. Could organisations or groups make a submission?

    Yes, the Commission was happy to hear from anyone who would like to share their views on these issues.

    7. Can I obtain a copy of my submission after I have submitted it?

    Yes, a copy of your submission would have been emailed to the email address provided.

    If you do not wish to provide your email address or do not receive a copy of your submission, please contact the National Inquiry Project Team at SH.Inquiry@humanrights.gov.au or on (02) 9284 9750.

    8. Why did you need my personal information?

    Parts A, B and C of the submissions form asked for details such as your name, address, email address and telephone number in case we need to contact you about your submission. It also asked for some basic demographic information that will help inform the work of the Inquiry. While we may include aggregated demographic data in the Inquiry report this will not identify any individual person. For submissions published on our website, we will typically include the name of the person making the submission but we will not include on the website the other personal information, or the demographic information requested.

    Circumstances in which we would contact you regarding your submission include:

    to provide you with information about support services available to you
    to clarify information contained in the submission, and
    to notify you of the publication of our report.

    9. Where can I find more information on submissions to the Australian Human Rights Commission?

    The Australian Human Rights Commission has a policy that provides further information on the use, publication and access to submissions. The submission policy is located at: www.humanrights.gov.au/submission-policy.

    The Commission also has a policy that provides further information on privacy, including the collection, storage, use and disclosure of your personal information. The privacy policy is located at: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/privacy.