The Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) makes it unlawful for a person to sexually harass another person in certain areas of public life, including in a person's employment.
The definition of sexual harassment provided in the Act is broad.
A person sexually harasses another where the person:
- makes an unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours, to the person harassed
- engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to the person harassed
in circumstances where a reasonable person would have anticipated that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.
This is an inclusive, rather than exhaustive, list of what constitutes conduct of a sexual nature.
It is a broad definition, and anything from a few brief words through to rape can meet this definition.
What is conduct of a sexual nature?
Whether conduct is of a sexual nature is an objective test and consideration is given to the facts and context.
The recounting of a sexual experience to another person and a workplace hug have been found to be of a sexual nature in Australian case law.
A victim must prove on the balance of probabilities that:
- they were subjected to conduct which constitutes sexual harassment
- that the conduct would have offended, humiliated or intimidated a 'reasonable person'.
Some sexual harassment, such as touching without permission, can also be a criminal offence and the police can prosecute the offender.
You must make a police report if you want police to consider prosecuting the offender.