In Victoria, the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual behaviour (either physical, verbal and/or written), which could be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. It’s important to note it is how the behaviour impacts the recipient, not what the intention of the behaviour that matter in this area of law. The relationship between the alleged harasser and the person allegedly harassed is key understanding the context of workplace sexual harassment.
On top of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic), the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) must also be observed by both employers and employees. Employers have the responsibility to ensure a safe work environment for all employees. It is important to update workplace policies, and provide ongoing training to help provide a safe work environment for all employees.
If you believe you have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment or believe as an employer sexual harassment is occurring, you must take the steps toward making a complaint. It is important to act, as close to half of all workplace sexual harassment stops immediately when a complaint or report is made. As an employer, if you believe there is sexual harassment occurring you must take a proactive approach. Organisations need to take a zero-tolerance approach in this area.
Employees need to speak up too. Many people in the workplace fear for their employment or fear that they may be victimised should they act upon an instance of sexual harassment. Under federal law employees are protected should they be discriminated against and make a claim.
PH Solicitor can provide advice on how to best approach the situation so that all parties are dealt with lawfully and appropriately whilst maintaining confidentiality. We know that sensitive handling and investigation of these claims is important as is ensuring the health and wellbeing and support of employees involved. We have the experience to effectively handle sexual harassment claims.