Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment



The Act which applies to most cases of sexual harassment federally is the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.

You should note at the outset that the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 will protect you only against certain forms of sexual harassment. Not all inappropriate behaviour will be unlawful.


The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 has a special way of defining sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment occurs where one person:

  • makes an unwelcome sexual advance to another
  • or an unwelcome request for sexual favours
  • or engages in unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature towards the other person
  • in circumstances where a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated that the other person would have been offended, humiliated or intimidated.

    Sexual harassment often involves:

  • offensive, sex-based comments
  • unwanted touching
  • unwanted requests for sex
  • displaying sexually suggestive material such as posters, e.mails or screen savers.

    Sexual harassment is unlawful in the following areas:
  • employment
  • commission agencies
  • contract work
  • partnerships
  • common workplaces
  • qualifying bodies (bodies with power to grant occupational qualifications)
  • registered organisations(such as unions or employer associations)
  • employment agencies
  • educational institutions
  • provision of goods, services or facilities
  • accommodation
  • disposing or acquiring land
  • clubs
  • Commonwealth laws and programmes

    Read on about Sexual Harassment.

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