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Unwanted sexual behaviour can make a person’s life miserable, whether it involves physical contact, or comments or innuendo, or persistent invitations to go out on dates.

It’s called sexual harassment, and it’s against the law.

Sexual harassment can happen at work, at school or university, in accommodation, and in some cases in the provision of goods and services.

It mainly affects women, but men can also be victims of sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment can have a devastating effect on victims, and can lead to many health problems including anxiety and depression, and in severe cases, post traumatic stress disorder.

Even though the law takes sexual harassment extremely seriously, few victims ever make formal complaints.

If you are a victim of sexual harassment, there is help available.

You may also be entitled to compensation.

Please call Discrimination Claims on 1300 853 837 and our friendly staff will be able to discuss your options with you.

The law

There is both federal and state legislation that protects all Australians from sexual harassment.

The law differs slightly from state to state, and state to territory, but in general terms, it is unlawful for a person to sexually harass another person in the areas of employment, education, accommodation, and the provision of goods and services.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwanted, uninvited or unwelcome sexual behaviour, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Sexual harassment is not interaction, flirtation or friendship which is mutual or consensual.

Sexual harassment does not need to be repeated or continuing for it to be unlawful.

Who can be guilty of sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment can be committed by just about anyone, including employers and work colleagues, students over the age of 16, room mates, and in some instances, customers or staff involved in the delivery of goods and services.

What are some examples of sexual harassment?

  • staring or leering
  • unwelcome touching
  • suggestive comments or jokes
  • insults or taunts of a sexual nature
  • intrusive questions about your private life
  • displaying posters or screen savers of a sexual nature
  • sending sexually explicit emails or text messages or inappropriate advances on social media
  • repeated unwanted requests to go out on dates or requests for sex

Where can sexual harassment take place?

Sexual harassment can happen in the workplace, but it can also happen anywhere work related, including hotels, bars, taxis, function centres or restaurants.

It can also happen via text messages and on social media.

It can also happen in:

  • classrooms or training facilities
  • shops, restaurants, or anywhere that goods and services are provided (sexual harassment can be perpetrated by customers towards staff or by staff towards customers)
  • accommodation, including shared boarding houses, caravan parks, motels and hotels

What should you do if you believe you have been sexually harassed?

You don’t have to put up with sexual harassment.

If you believe that you are being subjected to that sort of unlawful conduct, there are a number of things you can do, and you may even be entitled to compensation.

Please call Discrimination Claims on 1300 853 837 to speak to our professional staff, who will be able to advise you the best way to move forward depending on your circumstances.

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