Sexual harassment at work can take different forms. Learn what the law says is sexual harassment at work.
The definition of sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to a person. It occurs in circumstances where a reasonable person would anticipate the possibility of the person who is harassed being offended, humiliated or intimidated. Conduct of a sexual nature includes making a statement of a sexual nature to, or in front of, a person. The statement can be spoken or in writing
Workplace sexual harassment is when sexual harassment happens at work, in a constitutionally-covered business. It can be a one-off incident, or it can happen more than once, involving conduct by one or more people.
Sexual harassment can include conduct such as:
- inappropriate staring, leering or loitering
- unwelcome touching
- suggestive comments or jokes, insults or taunts based on sex, or sexual gestures
- using suggestive or sexualised nicknames for a person
- persistent unwanted invitations to go out on dates
- intrusive questions or comments about a person’s private life or body
- unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person
- displaying material of a sexual nature in the workplace
- communicating sexually explicit material in person or through phone calls, online interaction, email, social media or text messages.
Sexual harassment can cause physical and psychological harm. It can have a wide range of negative impacts, including feelings of isolation, loss of confidence and stress or depression.
Safe Work Australia has more information.
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