Guide to Workplace Sexual Harassment Claims in Victoria


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Unsafe work environments are often thought of when physical traumas and injuries occur from accidents, improper equipment, or environmental factors. Though these injuries are often more visible, your employer’s duty of care to provide you with a safe and respectful workplace applies just as much to psychological injuries

If you or someone you know is facing common causes for psychological injuries such as sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace, Carbone Lawyers’ dedicated team in Melbourne is committed to providing the support and legal expertise necessary to navigate these challenging situations. If you’ve been subjected to sexual harassment in your workplace, read on to understand your rights and the steps you can take to seek justice.

If you or someone else is in immediate need of support or is feeling unsafe, call one of the below numbers for 24/7 support:

  • Call Victoria Police on 000
  • Call Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Call 1800RESPECT (national sexual assault hotline) on 1800 737 732
  • Call the Sexual Assault Crisis Line on 1800 806 292

What Constitutes Workplace Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment in the workplace encompasses any unwelcome sexual conduct, from inappropriate comments and advances to displaying sexually explicit media or unnecessary physical contact. 

If you’re dealing with a situation of being sexually harassed by a manager or a colleague, it’s important to know that such conduct is not only unacceptable but also unlawful in Victoria under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

What To Do If You’re Sexually Harassed At Work

If you or someone else in your workplace has or is currently experiencing sexual harassment, acting quickly is paramount to preventing further harassment. Unlike some other common causes of workplace psychological injury like bullying, under the Federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 workplace sexual harassment does not need to be repeated for it to be a valid claim. 

Additionally, any victimisation or retaliation resulting from a claim such as missing out on work opportunities or disciplinary action based on you bringing a concern forward is also illegal and should not deter you from making a claim. 

With all that said here are the generally recommended steps to take for employees experiencing workplace harassment in Victoria: 

1. Collect Evidence

The first step if you’re not in immediate danger and can safely do so is to document whatever you can about the harassment, keeping any digital records of harassment and a diary with details of what happened, times, and who was around can have a massive impact on your claim’s success.

2. Know Your Options

Make sure you have up-to-date records of your contract, enterprise agreements, and any internal policies and procedures on harassment and occupational health and safety. If you’re a union member your union may also have experience and assistance available for members experiencing sexual harassment.

3. Make a Complaint as Soon as Possible

Claims are usually subject to time limits based on the last instance of harassment so should be made as soon as possible. You should already know from your induction and research in step 2 your workplace’s process for reporting harassment or abuse, we recommend making a concise complaint in writing with a copy for your records. 

This can be difficult and sometimes outright unsafe, if you aren’t able to safely raise the complaint to your supervisor or HR, the experts at Carbone Lawyers can help. Alternatively, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission provides a free and confidential information and complaint process.

4. Seek Advice

This can be a scary and complicated process, having empathetic and experienced guidance can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful claim. With over 30 years of experience handling all manner of workplace injury cases, the team at Carbone Lawyers will work with you to build a strong case, aiming for a resolution that acknowledges your experiences and seeks appropriate recompense for any harm suffered.

Take the First Step With Carbone Lawyers

We understand how difficult talking about and confronting your experiences of harassment or abuse can be, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for less. Our professional lawyers will handle your case with respect and expertise to fight for the compensation you deserve. 

Claims are often resolved through confidential conciliation or negotiations directly with the employer or their legal representatives, with workplace sexual harassment cases rarely needing to go to court. Regardless of how your claim is resolved, the team at Carbone Lawyers have the expertise to help you claim compensation for your pain and suffering, distress, and any losses in income. Call 1800 369 888 for a confidential discussion about your rights and options or contact us online to get your claim started.

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