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What is sexual harassment and why is it prohibited

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Back to Table of Contents. The Sex Discrimination Act prohibits sexual harassment in employment.

Sexual harassment is a form...

This will include recruitment and selection processes as well as harassment occurring in the course of employment.

For example, sexual harassment is prohibited at the workplace, during working hours, at work-related activities such as training courses, conferences, field trips, work functions and office Christmas parties. Sexual harassment is prohibited within most employment relationships involving employers, employees, commission agents, contract workers and partners.

Sexual harassment is prohibited in most workplace situations and relationships. The key to understanding who is covered by federal sexual harassment legislation is the relationship between the harasser and the harassed. The table below shows which relationships are covered by the Sex Discrimination Act.

Note that sexual harassment does not necessarily have to take place in the workplace to be unlawful.

Sexual harassment in employment may also take place in locations associated with work, such as conferences and training centres, restaurants for work lunches, hotels for work trips or office parties. In addition, each of these workplace participants is also covered by the general prohibitions in the Sex Discrimination Act against victimising complainants or causing or permitting sex discrimination, including sexual harassment.

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This is discussed below at 3. Some employees or contractors, such as those working in the entertainment or hospitality industries, are vulnerable to sexual harassment by customers or clients.

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