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Workplace sexual harassment

A workplace free from sexual harassment reduces stress and staff turnover, increases staff morale and productivity, and saves you time and money.

The Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA), requires you to prevent sexual harassment in your workplace. If you knew about it happening, or should have known about it, you must act to stop it and prevent it from happening again.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2012, also requires you to provide a safe workplace, take care of your staff's physical and psychological well-being and take steps to recognise, assess and control hazards, including sexual harassment.

You are liable for the actions of your staff unless you can show that you have taken reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment and to deal with it properly if it happens.

Here are some recommended reasonable steps to reduce the risk of sexual harassment.

  • Develop and promote a written policy which rules out sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Inform all your staff of what you expect of them.
  • Make sure managers and supervisors know how to promote a safe and fair workplace.
  • Provide awareness training for managers and staff.
  • Know how to handle inappropriate behaviours before they escalate.
  • Have a complaint handling procedure for dealing with problems if they arise.
  • Encourage staff to come forward with problems or complaints.
  • Treat complaints seriously, quickly and confidentially.
  • Monitor the workplace culture.
  • Survey staff on sexual harassment or discuss it at staff meetings.

Your staff can attend training for staff and managers at the Equal Opportunity Commission, or we can tailor a program to your workplace.

Related information

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