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National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is asking individuals and organisations to tell them about their views, experiences and suggestions for change as part of the National Inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces (the Inquiry). You can have your say by making an online submission to the AHRC using the online form here. The Inquiry invites any Australian worker who has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace to make a confidential submission to the AHRC. Details on how to make a submission can be found here.

There may be APS employees or former APS employees who have resolved the legal aspect of their workplace sexual harassment matter on terms which included a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). If an NDA has been agreed to, normally parties to that agreement are not permitted to disclose any aspect of the matter. However, to support the Inquiry, the Secretaries Board has agreed that APS employees or former APS employees may request a limited waiver of the NDA so that employees may make a confidential submission to the Inquiry.

How will this work?

To provide support to APS employees or former APS employees who are subject to an NDA and who wish to make a confidential submission to the Inquiry, the Ethics Advisory Service (EAS) in the Australian Public Service Commission will act as a conduit between affected employees and the agency with which they have signed a non –disclosure agreement (NDA).  Any such request to the EAS would not be considered to be a breach of the NDA.

Employees can contact the EAS on 02 6202 3737 or ethics [at] apsc.gov.au and provide the following details:

  • Their name
  • The name of the agency with which they have signed an NDA
  • The date of the settlement which includes the NDA

The EAS will then contact the relevant agency and seek a limited waiver. Unless otherwise instructed by the agency, the limited waiver will allow the employee to lawfully make a confidential submission for the purpose of making a submission to the Inquiry but which does not identify:

  • the specific agency (i.e. will only refer to an APS agency)
  • any third parties, for example other employees who may be party to the NDA.

The APSC recognises that coming forward to make a submission may be distressing. Please be re-assured that the information you share with the APSC will be handled sympathetically and in strict confidence. If you require support, you may wish to contact 1800RESPECT (Ph: 1800 737 732) - National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service.