January 12, 2018

Civil Claims for Sexual Harassment

Are you in need of a sexual harassment lawyer?

You may be able to make a complaint against your employer or a fellow employee if you have been sexually harassed in your workplace. At O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors we recognise that both women and men may experience sexual harassment in the workplace, and that the law plays an important part in holding employers accountable in ensuring that everyone can feel safe in their workplace.

How we can help – ‘No win, no fee’*

Our civil solicitors can assist you with your sexual harassment claim.

We can act for you on a No win, no fee basis.*

We provide representation to employees only, and can explain your legal rights to you simply so that you can make a fully informed decision about taking legal action. We recognise that your experience with sexual harassment may be traumatic, and so we employ a trauma-informed practice. This means that we are sensitive to your needs, and provide a safe and confidential environment for you to speak about your case.

* In certain circumstances. Please consult us on your matter and we will provide you with details on the fee depending on your circumstances.

What is Sexual Harassment?**

Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual conduct that ‘reasonably’ makes you feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. It can include:

  • Sexual assault and stalking;
  • Sexualised comments or overly familiar questions that make you feel uncomfortable;
  • Touching or brushing up against you; and
  • Showing you pornographic of sexually suggestive material.

Under the Sexual Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) certain circumstances will be taken into account when determining what is reasonable. These include:

  • Your age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, marital or relationship status, religion and race or national or ethnic origin;
  • The relationship between you and the person harassing you, including any power imbalances;
  • If you have a disability; and
  • Any other circumstances that could be deemed relevant.

** This fact sheet has been based on the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth). Elements may differ depending on jurisdiction.

What law governs Sexual Harassment in Sydney and NSW

There are a number of intersecting areas of law governing sexual harassment in the workplace. These include:

  1. Criminal law;
  2. Discrimination legislation – the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth governs the whole of Australia, and the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) governs NSW;
  3. Common Law – including actions in tort for assault, battery and breach of contract, with a personal injury component; and
  4. Actions under Workplace Health and Safety Legislation;

Sexual Harassment in the workplace

Whether an employer is liable for the unlawful actions of their staff is a complex question, and will vary depending on the area of law a claim is bought under. If you have been sexually harassed by another employee within the workplace and want to bring a claim against your employer, speak to us about your circumstances and we will explain to you what your legal options are.

Note that the workplace can include events that are organised by your employer, but occur outside of ‘work’ e.g. social functions, conferences or work trips.

Sexual Harassment time limits

Time limits vary depending on the area of law.

Complaints to the AHRC under the Anti-Discrimination Act need to be commenced within 6 months after the offensive conduct occurred. However, If the offensive conduct occurred prior to 13 April 2017, you have 12 months lodge a complaint with the AHRC.

For claims in tort with a personal injury component, you have 3 years to begin legal action.

Speak to one of our solicitors to understand more about the time limits and what this means for you.

sexual harassment claim form