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 employers to prevent sexual harassment in your workplace. If an employer knows about it happening, or should have known, they must act to stop it and prevent it from happening again.
The Work Health and Safety Act 2012, also requires employers to provide a safe workplace, take care of staff's physical and psychological well-being and take steps to recognise, assess and control hazards, including sexual harassment.
Employers are liable for the actions of staff unless they can show that they have taken reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment and to deal with it properly if it happens.
Here are some recommended reasonable steps that employers can adopt 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.
Staff can attend training for staff and managers at the Equal Opportunity Commission, or we can tailor a program to your workplace. For more information, visit our training page.
Sexual harassment at work - for Workers
If you think you are being sexually harassed at work you can:
- Try talking to the person harassing you and let them know that they are making you feel uncomfortable.
- Talk to your manager or supervisor, Human Resources officer, union representative or health and safety contact person.
- Contact us for advice or to make a complaint.
Taking action can help stop sexual harassment and improve the situation for others in the future.
If you tell your employer that you are being sexually harassed at work, your employer must act to stop it and prevent it from happening again.