No one deserves to feel unsafe at their place of employment. If you or someone you know is facing sexual harassment at work, you should feel empowered to seek legal guidance and support through the process. A Gerard Malouf & Partners sexual harassment attorney has the experience to handle your employment law case with care, sensitivity and urgency when you need it.
Australia has what is known as the Fair Work Act, which outlines sexual harassment law guidelines for safe workspaces and what to do if those agreements are breached to any degree. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, requests for sexual favours and any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that may make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
What may seem like an obvious sign of harassment to you, may not to another, however.
For example, if the same interaction were to happen in a social setting where both parties are consenting to the sexual advancement, then this would not be considered harassment. However, if one party has communicated directly or indirectly that they are not interested in such interaction, and yet the behaviour continues or becomes more aggressive, then it could be interpreted as harassment.
Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) defines this type of unwanted sexual behaviour as an unlawful act.
Examples of sexual harassment could include:
Similarly, someone could feel intimidated or uncomfortable if they overheard an inappropriate conversation or saw a sexually explicit poster at the workplace as well.
Typically, the person sexual harassing is responsible for the sexual harassment by the Sexual Discrimination Act, but employers and supervisors can be held responsible as well. This is known as vicarious liability. Supervisors can avoid this responsibility if they hold preventable policies and educate employees on the consequences.
Sexual harassment is prohibited in any workplace during operating hours, at conferences, training courses, field trips or other work functions. If any unwanted sexual advancement happens to you or someone you know, that is reason enough to talk to your supervisor. They may at first ask you if you’ve spoken with the harasser, but if you do not feel comfortable doing so, there are laws in place requiring employers to take action.
However, if it is your supervisor committing the act, get in touch with a lawyer for the next steps. Abuse of employees by their employers should not go unreported. You should feel empowered to make a sexual harassment claim and take legal action.
Sexual harassment claims start with your lawyer, who will make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission or your local anti-discrimination body. You can check out our guide on the matter as well.
Sexual harassment can cause psychological and physical harm and should never be ignored. Your employer should inform you upon hire on how to respond if you feel like you are being sexually harassed at your workplace, and what to do if you’ve witnessed sexual harassment.
After lodging a claim with the Australian Human Rights Commission, your Safe Work Australia commissioner should investigate the claim. You can also contact Safe Work if you feel like you’ve been discriminated against for raising a health and safety risk.
If it’s not safe to bring the concern to your human resources representative at work, you should speak with your Gerard Malouf & Partners sexual harassment lawyer to start the claims process.
Your supervisor should handle the situation with privacy and urgency. They are not legally allowed to retaliate against you for bringing a concern forward. Retaliation occurs when your employer punishes you for talking about the incident. It can include any negative job action such as discipline, salary reduction, shift reassignment, etc.
Retaliation can be more subtle as well, such as getting skipped over for work opportunities. If you feel threatened to bring a problem forward in fear of retaliation, your employer is committing illegal retaliation.
We offer free, private, over-the-phone consultations to discuss the sexual harassment situation that can help you start the legal process. Our expert consultants are equipped with the experience to ensure your compensation claim is supported and the feelings you have suffered are documented and substantiated.
We understand how hard it is for victims of sexual harassment to talk about their experiences. Our law professionals will make the compensation process as simple and speedy as possible, so you can focus on the recovery process.
This is a human rights matter and can be difficult to navigate on your own.
Because being sexually harassed at work can be a scary and sensitive situation, you should find comfort in coming to your local Gerard Malouf & Partners office to talk about your experience. We will handle the situation swiftly and with the utmost respect and sensitivity to find the justice and compensation you deserve.
To learn more or to lodge a complaint, please contact us directly today.
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