Sexual harassment is prevalent across Australian workplaces
Every person has the right to work in a safe environment that is free from harassment. The unfortunate reality is that sexual harassment is prevalent across Australian workplaces.
Sexual harassment can have severe physical, psychological and emotional impacts on victims. Further, it can have ramifications for organisations such as reduced productivity, high staff turnover, absenteeism and compensation claims against the employer.
AAP reports that more than 20 percent of Australians over 15 have experienced sexual harassment, with 68 per cent of cases happening in workplaces. These statistics indicate the need for more proactive mechanisms to be implemented by employers to prevent sexual harassment from occurring.
National inquiry will investigate the issue
It was announced on 20 June 2018 that the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) will carry out a 12-month inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace. The investigation will be conducted by Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins.
The inquiry will consider the economic impact of sexual harassment, the drivers of these behaviours and the adequacy of the existing legal framework.
The terms of reference cover a range of workplace issues including:
- Sexual harassment in the online workplace;
- Impacts of sexual harassment on individuals; and
- Existing measures and good practice being undertaken by employers in preventing and responding to workplace sexual harassment.
The inquiry will produce practical recommendations that can assist Australian workplaces in creating a safe work environment for all employees, that is free from harassment and discrimination.
The National Inquiry is open for public submissions until the 31 January 2019. Please note that the Commission will not be investigating individual allegations of sexual harassment. However, the views and experiences from individual submissions will inform the findings of the inquiry.
Making a civil claim for workplace sexual harassment
If you have been sexually harassed within your workplace, we can assist you to make a civil claim against your employer or a fellow employee. Our civil lawyers are experienced in advising clients on their sexual harassment claims, having successfully helped many clients with their cases.
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, we can act for you on a no win, no fee basis. Speak to an experienced civil lawyer who can advise you on your legal options and fees for your case.
Call us on (02) 9261 4281 to book a free and confidential initial consultation.