A young male sex worker who was ‘outed’ at his day job has won almost $20,000 compensation after his employer admitted to sexual harassment and discrimination.
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Discrimination Claims negotiated the settlement during conciliation in the Industrial Relations Commission recently.
“The way this young man was treated by his co-workers and his boss was appalling,” he said.
“He was inappropriately touched, subjected to homophobic slurs, and taunted about his sex work, and after he complained, he was refused any promotions within the company.”
Co-worker found profile online
*Tom worked as a car detailer for the business based in regional Queensland, but in his own time he was also a self-employed sex worker, advertising his services on various online sites.
After one of his colleagues came across Tom’s profile, he started calling him a ‘poofter’ at work, and would constantly try to touch him, and ask him about his genitals.
He also repeatedly asked Tom to meet up after hours.
When Tom refused the advances and complained to management, the co-worker ‘outed’ him – by telling other staff that Tom was a sex worker.
The co-worker was suspended and soon resigned, but when Tom started applying for promotions within the company, he was always overlooked.
His manager finally admitted that she did not want to promote him because he had raised the sexual harassment complaint against a colleague, and as a result, she said that she could not trust him.
Unlawful to discriminate on the basis of lawful sexual activity
It is unlawful to discriminate against someone because of their lawful sexual activity, like sex work, and it is also unlawful to take adverse action against a worker because they have made a complaint about sexual harassment.
“This was a double-whammy and it was blatant,” Mr Heffernan said.
“This company had broken the law by allowing Tom to be subjected to the sexual harassment, and then it discriminated against him for refusing to promote him because he had made a legitimate complaint about that sexual harassment.”
Discrimination Claims took Tom’s case to the Industrial Relations Commission, where during conciliation, the company agreed to pay him almost $20,000 compensation for hurt and humiliation.
The manager involved was dismissed by the company, and now faces separate legal action, along with the co-worker responsible for the sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment never okay
“Sexual harassment is never okay, and outing someone at work about their private life is a low dog act,” Mr Heffernan said.
“Businesses need to know that they are vicariously liable for the behaviour of their employees, so if those employees act unlawfully, then it will be the business that will foot the compensation bill.”
If you have been subjected to sexual harassment, or discrimination based on your lawful sexual activity, you may be entitled to compensation.
Please call Discrimination Claims today on 1300 853 837.
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