Peak industry body the National Retail Association has said the industry needs greater resourcing and consistent legislation to prevent sexual harassment towards retail staff.
A review by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission revealed some businesses are inadequately positioned to uphold the state’s unique laws that make sexual harassment in certain areas of public life a crime.
Chief Executive Dominique Lamb said an overhaul is needed to back consistent legislation across the country.
“Under no circumstance should retail staff be on the receiving end of sexual harassment.
“Retail is a high-risk sector for this kind of behaviour, and it is an issue we take very seriously.
“Yet, what this review found is that we are lacking sexual harassment prevention plans, central registers for recording complains and we are yet to see adequate training for staff on how to avoid risks.
“We have been given the positive duty to prevent sexual harassment, but many businesses are yet to be engaged as part of the proactive process.
“The burden should be removed from the people who suffer harm from the harassment by taking offences seriously and making preventative measures enforceable.
“As one of the largest employers of young people and women, we need measures in place to ensure our staff are safe.”
The National Retail Association is the voice of modern retail, representing more than 60,000 stores across Australia. It has been serving businesses in the retail and fast-food sectors for close to 100 years.
Dominique Lamb is available for media interviews. Please phone 0467 792 013