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.

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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.

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  • May 2020

    I found Arthur Hambas & Katherine Boyles extremely professional & compassionate in my dealings with them. After telling Arthur that I felt the details surrounding my redundancy felt wrong he took on my case & secured me a better payout from my employer. I would not hesitate to recommend Mcdonald Murholme to anyone that has a feeling that something isn't quite right. I greatly appreciate everything you did.
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Workplace Harassment?

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Frequently asked workplace harassment questions

What constitutes harassment at work?

Similar to workplace bullying, harassment is unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety of the worker.

My employer has not done anything to stop the harassment. What can I do?

Employers can be held legally responsible for acts of discrimination or harassment that occur in the workplace or connection with a person’s employment. If your employer has failed to uphold their duty of care, they may be liable for the behaviour.

A work colleague harasses me out of working hours. Does this constitute workplace harassment?

The definition of ‘workplace’ may extend further than the office premises and to out of office conduct. Any individual who is involved in work-related activities in and in connection to, that workplace is subject to the workplace policies. Depending on the circumstances and connection to work, the out-of-office actions may still constitute workplace harassment.

I have been harassed on one occasion. Am I able to file a complaint?

Yes. Unlike the stop bullying order, there is no minimum requirement for an employee to file a claim under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth).

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