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Everyone has a right to live and work free of sexual harassment

All Australian have the right to go to work and live without experiencing unwelcome sexual behaviour.

Such behaviour can make a person’s life miserable, whether it involves comments and innuendo, staring or leering, inappropriate text messages or physical contact.

This behaviour is sexual harassment, and is unlawful at work and in education.

Furthermore, it is also unlawful in accommodation and in the provision of goods and services.

Both women and men can be victims of sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment can have a devastating impact on victims and can lead to a range of physical and mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, and in some cases, post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Despite strict laws that protect people from sexual harassment, many victims are afraid to make a formal complaint because they worry that it will affect their job and career, or they don’t think that they will be believed or taken seriously.

Victims of sexual harassment should know that there is help available, and they don’t have to put up with inappropriate and unlawful conduct.

 

 

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwanted and uninvited behaviour that is sexual in nature, where a reasonable person would expect that the person being harassed would feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.

It is not flirtation or friendship which is mutual or consensual.

Sexual harassment does not need to be repeated or continuing for it to be unlawful.

 

The law

There is both federal and state legislation that protects all Australians from sexual harassment.

The law differs slightly from state to state, but in general terms, it is unlawful for a person to sexually harass another person in the areas of employment, education, accommodation, and in the provision of goods and services.

 

Who can be guilty of sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment can be committed by just about anyone, including employers and work colleagues, students over the age of 16, room mates, and in some instances, customers or staff involved in the delivery of goods and services. 

So that means staff in cafes and restaurants, or real estate agents and motel and hotel operators, and even tradespeople who might come to your house to perform work.

 

What are some examples of sexual harassment?

  • staring or leering
  • unwelcome touching
  • suggestive comments or jokes
  • insults or taunts of a sexual nature
  • intrusive questions about your private life
  • displaying screen savers or posters of a sexual nature
  • sending sexually explicit emails or text messages or inappropriate advances on social media
  • sending unsolicited gifts or cards that are sexual in nature
  • repeated requests for sex or persistent requests to go out on dates

 

Where can sexual harassment take place?

Sexual harassment can happen in the workplace, or anywhere that is work-related – so apart from the office or the work site, it can also include hotels, bars, conference and function centres, restaurants, and even in taxis. 

It commonly happens at work functions involving alcohol, for example, Christmas parties or conferences.

Furthermore, sexual harassment can also happen via text message and on social media.

Additionally, it can also happen in:

  • classrooms or training facilities
  • shops, restaurants, or anywhere that goods and services are provided (sexual harassment can be perpetrated by customers towards staff or by staff towards customers)
  • accommodation, including shared boarding houses, caravan parks, motels and hotels

How we can help

You don’t have to put up with sexual harassment.

Our team of Australian employment lawyers and industrial advocates at Human Rights Claims have extensive experience fighting sexual harassment claims on behalf of our clients.

Those who experience sexual harassment can make claims for substantial compensation, or request an apology, among other remedies.

We can represent you in the Human Rights Commission or any other relevant commission or tribunal.

We can advise you of your best options moving forward, to ensure you get the outcome you are looking for.

Make no mistake, we will not give up fighting until we have achieved justice for you. 

Please call our team today on 1800 437 825.

IMPORTANT:  Those sacked because of complaining about sexual harassment, only have 21 days from the date of dismissal to file a claim, so don’t delay!


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