Everyone has the right to a safe workplace
Everyone has the right to a safe workplace that is free from discrimination and sexual harassment.
At Industrial Relations Claims, we are acutely aware of the devastating impacts this sort of unlawful conduct can have on a person.
We have a strong record of holding individuals and companies responsible to account.
If you have experienced any form of sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination, you might be entitled to substantial compensation.
For a confidential chat about your options, call our expert team today.
What is discrimination?
Discrimination happens when you are treated less favourably because of a particular attribute compared to someone who does not have that same attribute.
Various federal and state legislation protects Australians from discrimination.
The law differs slightly from state to state, so it’s important to seek professional advice if you believe you have experienced discrimination.
What is a protected attribute?
Attributes that are protected by the law include a person’s:
- sex or gender
- sexuality or sexual orientation
- national extraction or social origin
- age (young or old)
- physical or mental impairment or disability
- martial or parental status
- political opinion
- trade union activity
Where can discrimination happen?
Unlawful discrimination can happen to you at work, or at school or university, or when you are seeking accommodation like renting a house or motel room.
It can also happen when you access goods and services.
For example, buying things from a shop, going to a café or to the movies or a medical centre – it can even happen when you hire tradespeople.
Workplace discrimination can happen when you are employed, or when you are doing work experience, or even when you apply for a job.
It also applies to contractors and volunteers.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome behaviour that is sexual in nature which is intended to make another person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.
It does not need to be repeated or on-going for it to be unlawful.
Both men and women can be affected by sexual harassment.
Examples of sexual harassment
Examples of sexual harassment can include:
- any unwelcome touching, including hugging and kissing
- sexually suggestive comments, insults or taunts
- inappropriate staring or leering
- sexually suggestive jokes or comments
- intrusive questions about your private life
- displaying posters of a sexual nature
- sending sexually explicit emails or text messages or gifts
- inappropriate advances on social media
- repeated unwanted requests to go out on dates or requests for sex
Sexual harassment can happen anywhere
Sexual harassment can happen at work or at school, university or college.
It can also happen in the provision of goods and services, as well as in accommodation.
Workplace sexual harassment can happen in the regular work environment, such as an office, or a factory or a retail store or a work site.
But it can also happen anywhere in connection with work or anywhere arising from the course of employment.
That means work Christmas parties, interstate conferences and other work-related functions.
It can happen in bars, restaurants, cafes, hotels or conference centres and Ubers.
Sexual harassment can also happen on social media and in text messages.
Australian courts have made it very clear they will not tolerate sexual harassment in the community.
A number of recent cases have resulted in huge penalties and substantial damages reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Reach out for help
Sexual harassment can affect people in different ways.
You may experience depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, panic attacks and even post traumatic stress disorder.
If you need support, make sure talk to a friend, or your local doctor – or you can call one of these services.
Lifeline 13 11 14
1800RESPECT 1800 737 732
QLife 1800 184 527
Beyond Blue 1300 223 636
MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
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LAST UPDATED: May 2022