Sexual harrassment


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Important things that businesses in Australia need to be aware of in relation to Anti Discrimination and Sexual Harassment laws.

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Sexual harrassment

  1. 1. Your HR Department On CallThings Every Business Needs toKnow About Sexual Harassment Presented by Melissa Behrend Founder HR On Call
  2. 2. Discrimination / HarassmentWhat is the difference• Discrimination is when you treat people differently or less favourably• Discrimination may be: ƒ direct, i.e. a worker is singled out for negative treatment;or indirect, i.e. a rule, requirement or condition is imposed in the workplace that singles out a worker or class of workers in the same circumstances because they cannot meet that rule or requirement.• Harassment is any form of unwanted or unwelcomed behaviour – can range from unpleasant remark to physical violence
  3. 3. Anti-discrimination• Equal Employment Opportunity – equal chance for employment, promotion, training etc• Treated on merits without regard to race, age, sex, marital status• does not tolerate any form of discrimination
  4. 4. Federal and State Laws• Sex• Relationship or parental status• Race• Religious belief or activity• Impairment• Trade union activity• Lawful sexual activity• Pregnancy• Breastfeeding needs• Family responsibilities• Gender identity• Sexuality or• AgeAlso against the law to treat a client or team member unfairly because they are linkedto someone in these groups.
  5. 5. Discrimination may involve:• Offensive jokes or comments• Displaying of pictures etc.• Negative stereotypes• Judging on beliefs rather than work performance• Undermining authority because of personal characteristic dislikes
  6. 6. Workplace Bullying & HarassmentWhat is workplace harassment or bullying?Workplace harassment is where a person is subjected to behaviour, other than sexualharassment, that: – is repeated, unwelcome and unsolicited – the person considers to be offensive, intimidating, humiliating or threatening – a reasonable person would consider to be offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.Workplace harassment can be committed by: – an employer – worker – co-worker – group of co-workers – client or customer or – a member of the public.
  7. 7. Workplace HarassmentWorkplace harassment covers a wide range of behaviours ranging from subtleintimidation to more obvious aggressive tactics, including: – abusing a person loudly, usually when others are present – repeated threats of dismissal or other severe punishment for no reason – constant ridicule and being put down – leaving offensive messages on email or the telephone – sabotaging a persons work, for example, by deliberately withholding or supplying incorrect information, hiding documents or equipment, not passing on messages and getting a person into trouble in other ways – maliciously excluding and isolating a person from workplace activities – persistent and unjustified criticisms, often about petty, irrelevant or insignificant matters – humiliating a person through gestures, sarcasm, criticism and insults, often in front of customers, management or other workers – spreading gossip or false, malicious rumours about a person with an intent to cause the person harm.
  8. 8. Sexual Harassment• Any form of unwelcome sexual attention• Could be: • Unwelcome physical touching • Sexual or suggestive comments, jokes or taunts • Unwelcome requests for sex: • The display of clearly sexual material e.g. photos, posters or reading matter e.g. emails, faxes, social media links• Does not have to be repeated orongoing
  9. 9. Actions which are NOT discrimination or harassment• Legitimate and reasonable management actions & business processes e.g. transfers, demotions, discipline, redeployment , retrenchment, dismissal• Provided they are conducted in a reasonable and lawful way
  10. 10. Racial Vilification• Vilification is a public act of racial or religious hatred• It’s a criminal offence to incite racial an religious hatred of others by threatening physical harm towards a person or property• Many forms: • Hate speeches, graffiti, websites, social media postings
  11. 11. Racial vilification• Law allows for free speech e.g.• Fair report by media• Discussions or debates in good faith• Material used in parliament, courts, tribunals and other government inquiries
  12. 12. Vicarious Liabilitywhat is it?It’s the responsibility you have (as an employer) for the actions of yourworkers or agents towards others as they do their work. That is, theresponsibility of the superior for the acts of their subordinateUnder antidiscrimination legislation employers can be held liable forthe actions of their team members or agentsExamples: – A worker sexually harasses another by repeatedly making remarks about her breasts in front of co-workers. He also has her head on the body of a naked woman as a screen saver. – You own a restaurant, and one of your waiters refuses to serve a woman who is breastfeeding her baby, and has told her to leave the restaurant.• A complaint can be lodged against both the worker and the employer.
  13. 13. Responsibilities• Team members – Behave responsibility and comply with the company’s policy – Not tolerate unacceptable behaviour – Report any incidents to your manager• Supervisors / Managers – Ensure safe work environment – Demonstrate appropriate behaviour – Treat complaints as serious
  14. 14. What to do• Report any incident to your supervisor / manager• All reported incidents will be treated seriously and investigated• Appropriate disciplinary action taken• May involve warning through to dismissal – depending on the circumstances