ASX 200 always fails when it comes to harassment


ACSI represents institutional investors from Australia and overseas who hold $ 1.5 trillion in member savings. Credit:TimBell

“There is a significant proportion of businesses showing that no mechanism is in place to deal with this is a problem.”

“Can you imagine a large percentage of companies saying they don’t have a mechanism in place to manage security in their organization? And fundamentally, it is about the safety of people in the workplace. “

Ms Davidson said the report recommended that boards put policies in place to ensure they are better equipped to avoid problems before they hit the media.

She also said there was a lingering problem with Australian companies using nondisclosure agreements to gag complaints as part of a settlement agreement.

“If people can’t talk about their behavior, how do you know it’s not acceptable? You know I can’t say look, you know look what happened [Mr] X, when he was a perpetrator of sexual harassment, he had to leave the company. We can never say these things.

While there are obvious delays on this issue in the ASX 200, the majority of major Australian listed companies consider sexual harassment and other related issues, such as consensual relationships in the workplace, in particular. between senior and junior employees, as an important area of ​​focus.

“The approach has moved away from ‘we just need to know what we need to know’ and ‘what we don’t hear we don’t have to worry about’ to ‘it’ is a serious problem and we need to be made aware of it, ”said an ASX 200 director cited anonymously in the report.

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AMP is an example of how a company’s poor approach to dealing with serious senior management conduct issues can cost investors dearly, with large numbers of executives leaving the company.

“Where sexual harassment has been mismanaged, you can see it has a big impact on staff productivity and the ability to retain and attract good talent,” Ms. Davidson said.

“It’s also about being able to assess the level of risk associated with investing in a business, so if [the company] is unable to provide any data or if their data appears to be really bad, and it doesn’t seem to be being considered, as an investor this is useful information to have.

Ms Jenkins said sexual harassment causes immense social and economic damage, with an annual cost to the Australian economy valued to $ 3.8 billion in 2018.

“The report’s recommendations provide a model for Australia’s largest companies to reduce the prevalence of sexual harassment in their workplaces and create safer and fairer workplaces for all. “

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