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Sexual harassment is extremely serious and can be costly

If you have received a complaint from a staff member about sexual harassment, or if you are defending a formal claim of sexual harassment, you need to consider the matter extremely serious, and should seek urgent expert legal advice.

Call our team at Employwise immediately on 1800 00 WISE (1800 00 9473).

Successful sexual harassment claims can cost businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and compensation payments.

You are responsible for the conduct of your staff

It is important to understand that as an employer, you are responsible for the conduct of your staff, and will be held vicariously liable if they commit sexual harassment – which means it will be your business, and not the employee, who will be ordered to pay any penalties or compensation to any potential victim/s.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwanted behaviour that is sexual in nature that offends, intimidates or humiliates.

It can include touching, staring or leering, inappropriate comments, displaying offensive messages or posters or screensavers, or repeated requests for dates or sex.

It can also include messages and images sent via text message or on social media, and it can happen outside of regular work hours.

It is important to know that sexual harassment can happen in the office, or at the work site, but it can also happen anywhere that is work related – including conferences, hotels, bars and pubs, restaurants and cafes and even in taxis.

Businesses are particularly at risk of sexual harassment claims following incidents at work-related functions, especially Christmas parties.

How to protect your business

As an employer, you have a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment from happening in your workplace.

The first step to protect your business from a claim is to ensure that you have clear and robust policies in place, and that all of your employees are familiar with those policies.

Secondly, you should establish a formal grievance process to deal with any complaints should they arise.

It is also a good idea to provide regular professional workplace training for all staff that deals with discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation.

Our specialist team at Employwise can help you develop and implement effective policies, and grievance processes to handle complaints.

We also offer professional workplace training in discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation.

Click here for more information about Professional Training

If you are defending a sexual harassment complaint, we can help.

Please call our specialist team at Employwise today on

1800 00 WISE (1800 00 9473)

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