Victorian Government processes for supporting and maintaining positive duties in the workplace

In Victoria, employers have a positive duty under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 to take reasonable and proportionate measures to prevent workplace sexual harassment, discrimination and victimisation. Such a positive duty, means that employers have to take proactive steps to address sexual harassment, rather than just respond to it if or when it occurs. Even if employees do not make a complaint, employers have an obligation to put in place proactive preventative measures.

The recently introduced Respect@Work Bill will legislate a positive duty at the Commonwealth level, extending this obligation to employers nationwide.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) recently conducted an investigation, in full co-operation and collaboration with the company, into the way Bakers Delight Holdings prevents sexual harassment in its company-owned workplaces and franchise network. VEOHRC found that, as is the case for many employers, there were gaps in Bakers Delight Holdings’ compliance with the positive duty.

While Bakers Delight Holdings had already taken steps to develop policies and processes to address sexual harassment, more needed to be done to prevent sexual harassment and make their workplaces safer for workers. At the conclusion of the investigation, VEOHRC and Bakers Delight Holdings entered into a compliance agreement, under which Bakers Delight has agreed to take steps to bring its practices in line with the standards required by the positive duty.


Some of the key takeaways for retailers from the investigation:

  1. Employers’ workplace policies need to include a sexual harassment prevention plan and this should incorporate regular risk assessments
  2. All employees should be trained in how to prevent and respond to reports of sexual harassment
  3. Employers need to ensure employees know how they can report instances of harassment
  4. In some circumstances, head franchisors will need to take positive steps to prevent sexual harassment in franchise stores


The full report and compliance agreement can be accessed here: Investigation: Preventing sexual harassment in retail franchises | Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission



Retail Voice CEO Message: 15 March 2023

Retail crime continues to be a concern with many businesses recording an increase in shoplifting. 
In the latest Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data coming out of New South Wales, retail theft increased 23.7% year-on-year.  

Retailers have an important role to play in closing the gap

Today is National Closing the Gap Day, a day of action to pledge support for achieving indigenous health equality by 2030. As part of the ARA’s reconciliation journey, we have made a commitment to use our reach to raise awareness with our members about days of significance for First Nations communities, like Closing the Gap Day.

Retail Voice CEO Message: 1 March 2023

This week we’re excited to launch the 2023 ARA Retail Insights Report – our annual overview of the retail outlook. The way the retail sector is perceived, and its public profile is essential to our long-term success.