Workplace harassment can be physical, verbal, psychological and sexual.
Physical harassment refers to physical threats or attacks made towards an employee during their employment. In some instances, physical harassment may amount to an assault.
Psychological and verbal harassment may constitute workplace bullying, which is repeated unreasonable or negative behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety of the worker.
Some verbal harassment may constitute discrimination. The Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) protects people from discrimination in their employment. It is a statutory body and acts as the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Division 4 of the Australian Human Rights Commission Act (Cth) relates to equal opportunity in employment and details the functions and performance of functions relating to equal opportunity.
Some verbal harassment may also constitute sexual harassment. Under the Victorian Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth), any form of sexual harassment in the workplace is unlawful. Under section 92(1) of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) section 28A(1) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth,) a person sexually harasses another if they, in circumstances in which a reasonable person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated. This includes subjecting anyone to physical intimacy, making remarks or statements with sexual connotations to or about a person in their presence or making any gesture, action or comment of a sexual nature in the person’s presence.