What exactly constitutes sexual harassment? What about jokes?
What should I do if I've been harassed?
What can I do if I see sexual harassment happening in my workplace?
What can employers do to prevent sexual harassment from happening?
We have provided answers to some common questions below. If you have anything else you would like us to answer, or need to make a complaint, please call us on 1300 292 153 or email [email protected].
What is sexual harassment?
Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, sexual harassment is defined as:
- an unwelcome sexual advance
- an unwelcome request for sexual favours
- any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature
which would lead a reasonable person to experience offence, humiliation or intimidation. It can be physical, verbal, or written.
Men experience sexual harassment but it disproportionately affects women, especially in the workplace. (The Australian Human Rights Commission reported that 1 in 5 women experience sexual harassment in the workplace at some time.)
Sexual harassment can be a barrier to women participating fully in paid work. It can undermine their equal participation in organisations or business, reduce the quality of their working life and impose costs on organisations.*
Volunteers and unpaid workers also have the same rights and responsibilities in relation to sexual harassment as paid staff.See Fredman, S. Women and the law (Oxford University Press, New York. 1997) and McCann, D. Sexual harassment at work: National and international responses. (Switzerland: International Labour Office: Geneva, 2005).
We can help
You can also seek counselling or support from 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).