Workplace sexual harassment what can you do?

When faced with workplace sexual harassment a question many people ask is “what can I do?” especially when the harassment is from a senior member of staff or the business owner.

What happens when you make a complaint and nothing is done about it?
What about situations where the workplace culture is toxic as a result of sexual harassment?

Where do you go, who do you turn to?
Your first port of call if you are in NSW could be the Anti Discrimination board of NSW.  The Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW promotes anti-discrimination, equal opportunity principles and policies throughout NSW. It administers the anti-discrimination laws, and handles complaints under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW). It is part of the NSW Department of Justice. Read more

What can the Anti-Discrimination Board do?

The ADB can investigate complaints about the types of discrimination covered by the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act. It can help you and the other side find a way of solving the problem.

The ADB does not take sides, decide whether discrimination happened or not, or provide legal advice. If the Board can’t help solve the problem, you might be able to take your complaint to the Equal Opportunity Division of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal, which can make a decision like a court.

If the matter proceeds to the Equal Opportunity Division of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal you may be entitled to compensation if the tribunal finds in your favour for example in the cases of;
Kordas v Ruba & Jo Pty Ltd t/a Aztec Hair & Beauty where the victim was awarded compensation of  $30,000.00
Borg v Commissioner, Department of Corrective Services & Anor where the victim was awarded compensation of  $47,500.00 for sexual harassment, discrimination and victimisation

The matter may also proceed to the Federal Court as it did in the matter of Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd where Ms Richardson was awarded $130,000.00 in compensation

Sexual harassment may also lead to litigation as a result of an action in negligence for personal injuries as it did in the case of Mathews v Winslow Constructors (Vic) Pty Ltd [2015] VSC where Ms Mathews was awarded 1.3 millions dollars in compensation.

For more examples of workplace sexual harassment case – read more

Lessons for employers

  • Don’t engage in workplace sexual harassment, it can end badly for all parties and can be very expensive for the organisation
  • Don’t ignore workplace sexual harassment, if you know or suspect it is happening.
  • Take action and investigate if a complaint or report is made

If you are not sure what to do – call in an expert.

AWPTI can assist you with investigations services into sexual harassment and a wide range of other complaint including workplace bullying, and all forms of misconduct;

Other Anti Discrimination boards and commissions:
Victoria –
Western Australia –
Tasmania –

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