Preventing and Responding to Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a significant issue in Australia, where just over one in five people have been sexually harassed since the age of 15, in most cases, by a co-worker.
Ending and preventing sexual harassment means community, businesses, unions and bystanders need to be able to identify where the line is when it comes to sexual harassment, and know what to do when someone is crossing it.
Elizabeth Broderick, Australia's Former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Ged Kearney, President of the ACTU and Kate Carnell, CEO of the AICC explain that:
"Not only does the research indicate people often don’t know what sexual harassment is, it shows that – if they do – they mostly don’t report it because they either don’t think it is serious enough, or they are afraid of the workplace repercussions."
The Australian Human Rights Commission, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry have jointly launched the ‘Know Where the Line Is’ awareness strategy intended to run in workplaces around the country to help workers and employers recognise sexual harassment and know how to take action.
To learn more about sexual harassment in the workplace, visit the ‘Know Where the Line Is’ website.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. If a reasonable person would anticipate this behaviour might make you feel offended, humiliated or intimidated, it may be sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is unlawful under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).
Some examples of behaviour that may be sexual harassment include:
- Sexually suggestive comments or jokes
- Intrusive questions about your private life or physical appearance
- Inappropriate staring or leering
- Unwelcome hugging, kissing or cornering or other types of inappropriate physical contact
- Sexually explicit text messages, images, phone calls or emails