On 12 September 2018, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, released the results of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s fourth national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.

The survey found that:

  • In the last 12 months, 23% of women and 16% of men had experienced some form of workplace sexual harassment.
  • People aged 18 – 29 were more likely than those in other age groups to have experienced workplace sexual harassment in the past five years.
  • Harassers were most often a co-worker employed at the same level as the victim and in the majority of cases, had sexually harassed others in the same workplace in a similar manner.
  • The most common form of workplace sexual harassment experienced was offensive, sexually suggestive comments or jokes.
  • More than half of workplace sexual harassment occurred at the victim’s workstation or where they work and one-quarter of incidents occurring in a social area for employees.
  • The rates of workplace sexual harassment were particularly high in the information, media and telecommunications industries (87%), followed by arts and recreation services (49%), electricity, gas and waste services (42%) and retail trade (42%).
  • Fewer than one in five people (17%) made a formal report or complaint in relation to workplace sexual harassment.
  • The most common reasons for not reporting workplace sexual harassment were that people would think it was an over-reaction and it was easier to keep quiet.

The survey results will inform the Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces. Ai Group’s Chief Executive, Innes Willox, has been appointed as a Member of the Reference Panel for the Inquiry.

If you would like more information about sexual harassment in the workplace please contact Ai Group’s Workplace Advice Service on 1300 55 66 77.

Alternatively, if you would like advice about developing harassment policies in your workplace  or responding to harassment claims by employees please contact your local employment, workplace and industrial lawyer in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide, Melbourne or Brisbane or email Ai Group Workplace Lawyers at info@aigroupworkplacelawyers.com.au.

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