If you’re a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), you must manage the hazards associated with health and safety risks of workplace sexual harassment. This includes sexual harassment between workers and from other people at the workplace like customers and clients.
Sexual harassment is now recognised as a systemic risk, with industry, environmental and individual risk factors present in every workplace.
To identify the potential for sexual harassment, you must gather information about the hazards in your workplace and assess the associated risk.
Safe Work Australia's guide Preventing workplace sexual harassment (external link) has detailed information on identifying the potential for sexual harassment in your workplace, and ways you can prevent it from happening.
As the PCBU, it's your responsibility to set the behaviour standards that provide a safe workplace for all workers.
Your workplace should foster a healthy and respectful work culture where sexual harassment is not tolerated. All levels of workers need to model and enforce acceptable behaviour standards, including the PCBU, managers and supervisors.
A workplace policy can help set clear expectations about behaviours at the workplace and during work-related activities, and provide important information for workers, supervisors and managers.
What sexual harassment looks like
- unwelcome touching, hugging, cornering or kissing
- inappropriate staring or leering
- suggestive comments or jokes
- using suggestive or sexualised nicknames for co-workers
- sexually explicit pictures, posters or gifts
- circulating sexually explicit material
- persistent unwanted invitations to go out on dates
- requests or pressure for sex
- intrusive questions or comments about a person's private life or body
- unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person
- insults or taunts based on sex
- sexual gestures or indecent exposure
- following, watching or loitering nearby another person
- sexually explicit or indecent physical contact
- sexually explicit or indecent emails, phone calls, text messages or online interactions
- repeated or inappropriate advances online
- threatening to share intimate images or film without consent
- actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.
Who is affected by sexual harassment
- workers under 30 years of age
- workers who identify as LGBTIQA+
- Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander workers
- workers with a disability
- workers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- migrant workers or workers holding temporary visas, and
- people in insecure working arrangements (casual, labour hire or part-time work).