Sexual Harassment And Sexual Assault In The Workplace

Table of Contents

An opening

Main discussion

The problem

The Policy’s Goal

Investigation and Advising

Critical Analysis


This is an introductory statement.

In today’s society, sexual harassment and assault are a common problem. The community is negatively affected by this problem. This is an act in which someone sexually touches another without their consent or permission. In most cases, the use of coercion, force or physical violence is used to force someone into a sexual act against their will. Sexual violence can include rapes, physical abuse, sexual abuse against children or groping. The workplace is not safe for both men and women today. In Australia, sexual harassment is a very common occurrence. It is also dangerous for men to work in the office. This paper concentrates on sexual harassment, assault, and violence in the workplace. It also discusses its impact on Australians. This paper examines the appropriateness of the laws and regulations.

Our parents have taught us to respect women since childhood. This thesis paper addresses the goals and objectives for the policy, along the with employer’s liability to address sexual harassment issues at the workplace. The employers have a duty to ensure a proper workplace culture. There are many laws in Australia to protect Australians’ rights. In this article, we will examine different case examples that support our thesis statement on the policy of sexual harassment at work.

DiscussionA workplace is an area where people spend 8-12 hours a day. As a result, the employer’s and government’s duty is to ensure that the workplace is safe. Sexual assault in Australia is used to describe many different sexual offenses. In Australia, the number of sexual harassment incidents is increasing with each passing day. Even male workers in Australia can be victims of this sexual abuse. In accordance with the Australian Constitution, every Australian has the right to equal protection and equality before the law. In order to safeguard the people’s fundamental rights, the state must ensure that its laws and legislation do so. Australian legislation has been implemented to protect men, women, and children from sexual assaults and harassment. The Australian government has also implemented a number of policies to help reduce the incidence of this type of crime. All these topics must be discussed in detail.

The issueSexual abuse and sexual harassment have different meanings. The Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 (Cth), provides a definition for the term sexual harassing. Sexual harassment refers to unwanted sexual conduct that is intimidating, humiliating, and insulting. Most importantly, it’s against the law. Sexual harassment has different effects on people. The harassment can be verbal, written, online or physical. Sexual discrimination is committed if the harassment occurs in a school, college or university. Sexual harassment includes:

If you touch someone, or make physical contact with them without their consent.

Making comments that are sexually innuendo-laden;

The request to have a relationship with a woman or for sexual favors.

Staring in an inappropriate way

Displaying offensive materials

Making sexual gestures or movements with the body;

Making jokes about sexual issues

When someone asks about a person’s sexuality;

Insulting someone with sexual or offensive comments

Committing offenses that can be considered criminal offences, such exposing private body parts, sexually assaulting someone, or forcing them to watch pornography.

Sexual harassment can often turn into assault. Sexual assault is when someone sexually harasses another, causing them to feel pain, shame, humiliation and fear. According to a number of psychiatrists who treat sexual harassment, the victim may develop mental disorders such as:

Feeling stressed, depressed or upset;

Refrain from attending social events

Self-confidence is low and lack of self-esteem.

Headaches, insomnia, and other physical anxieties;

Unable or unwilling to concentrate.

Sexual assault is the act of a person sexually touching another person to move in an unnatural way without their consent or permission. A sexual assault occurs when someone touches another person in an inappropriate way without his or her consent. In such cases, coercion is often involved, along with undue force and physical pressure. Sexual violence includes:


Child sexual abuse;

The physical torture of groping.

Both oral and Anal penetration can be considered as rape. For rape to be considered, penetration must occur. Sexual assaults do not always involve the perpetrators pursuing sexual pleasure. It is also possible to do it in order for someone to be controlled. Sexual harassment is less serious than assault, but the victim does not bear any responsibility. Sexual assault is a subject that has many myths. Sexual assault is not limited to women. Both men and women may be victims. A person who has been sexually assaulted may suffer from mental problems such as:

Shock followed by denial

Fear of death




Swings in mood;

Nightmares and flashbacks


Low self-esteem, low confidence;

Suicide attempts are a common occurrence.

Both issues have a significant negative impact on Australia’s commercial and civil aspects. The Australian Human Rights Commission, which was established in 2002, has conducted a survey of sexual harassment and violence every five-years. This survey provides an overview on recent trends, including the frequency at which sexual harassment or assaults occurred in Australia’s workplaces and communities. A 2016 survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men were sexually harassed in their lifetime. In the study, it was also revealed that younger generations are most likely to experience sexual harassment. In order to reflect the’me-too’ movement, this year’s survey changed its method and introduced an online review for the first time.

Australia has taken a number of steps to prevent sexual harassment at work. In this respect, the government has issued several policies. Because it’s a growing problem in Australia, the employer must take all necessary steps to prevent it. This means that employers must take proactive measures to prevent sexual harassment and assault. The employer must also respond to harassment that occurs in the workplace. A sexual assault or harassment may be attributed to an employer if, under the Sex Discrimination Act (1984) (Cth), they failed to take all the steps necessary to prevent it from taking place in the work environment. Act does not define all steps to be taken and they vary by workplace.

Despite all efforts to stop sexual harassments and violence, incidents like these still occur in the office. Employers can make a policy against sexual harassment and implement it effectively. They should also monitor the effectiveness of this policy. Employers and management must communicate to employees the fact that this type of behavior is not tolerated in the workplace. Employers can implement a zero tolerance policy to stop this. The zero-tolerance policy was supported by many authors. It has been observed that employees are more likely to maintain a proper workplace culture because they fear losing their job. A written policy will not prevent sexual harassment and assault. It is important to implement the policy through communication and education.

Many authors agree that it’s important to properly write a workplace harassment policy to avoid the problem. Many employers include the provisions of general harassment in their sexual harassment policies. In general, widespread harassment can be harassment based on race, gender or sexuality, caste, religion, or religious beliefs. Some employers consider it essential to have separate policies that address sexual assault and harassment. Employers should follow these rules when writing a policy on sexual harassment, for example:

The system should be introduced in a formal meeting with all employees present.

The policy must be endorsed by the CEO of the company or their representative.

The policy needs to be written simply in English.

It is important that the language used by employers be simple and clear.

The system is displayed on an announcement board.

Employees must receive a copy in their mail ID.

All employees must sign and acknowledge the policy.

A policy against sexual harassment should include the following elements:

The policy statement must be powerful and clearly state the organization’s position on sexual harassment.

The company’s objectives must be outlined;

You must define sexual harassment.

The policy should explain which behaviors are not sexual harassment.

What happens if there is a breach?

It is also important to know the goals of sexual harassment and assault policy. Goals are:

Create a workplace that is free of sexual harassment and assault, and in which every employee, member and worker receives respect and dignity.

Develop a program of training and strategies to raise awareness among employees about their rights.

All complaints should be treated with fairness, confidentiality, and sensitivity.

Protect yourself from all forms of victimization.

Promote appropriate conduct.

Employers can reduce sexual harassment in the workplace by taking these steps.

Research and RecommendationThe Government of Australia has passed several Acts to address sexual assault and harassment at work and in the community. The Sexual Discrimination Act, 1964 (Cth), section 28A, defines sexual harassment. Section 106 explained the vicarious liabilities of employers. Recenty the Victoria Bar Association has published a Policy against Sexual Harassment. This policy is effective from the 1st of July 2018. The policy is designed to ensure that sexual harassment and assault are not tolerated in the workplace. It also aims at treating every complaint with fairness, confidentiality, and sensitivity.

These laws, legislation and policies have been praised by many scholars for their ability to reduce sexual harassment in the workplace. However, procedures, legislation and regulation need to be checked and modified from time-to-time. These laws and regulations prescribed punishments for those who commit these crimes. It is possible to reduce sexual harassment by implementing a zero tolerance policy. Losing a job in today’s economy can be devastating. According to many scholars, an employer can reduce sexual assaults by following the five steps.

Get high-standard management support from CEO and senior management representatives;

Write and implement an anti-sexual harassment policy;

You should provide all employees with a comprehensive training program and a clear message about sexual harassment.

Encourage the administration to adopt appropriate behaviors;

Last but not least, create an environment that is positive at work.

Employers can also install CCTV cameras in the workplace to keep track of their employees. The system will allow the organization to monitor the employees and reduce the chances of harassment. The management should control employee’s use of email and computer as sexually explicit material can be transmitted via the internet.

Many authors argued that policies play a major role in reducing sexual harassment and violence at work. The policies’ goals are effective in reducing harassment. Aside from policies, employers are equally important in reducing sexual harassing. Shiels Pty Limited (2000) decision stated that the employer has a responsibility to educate all of its employees about sexual harassment. In McAlister Vs. SEQ Aboriginal Corporation for Legal Services, (2002), the respondent, a lawyer, sexually harassed an employer’s client. The employer warned the respondent several times about this. The court found that the employer had not been vicariously responsible because it took all steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal stated that the writing of a policy was not enough. It is the responsibility of the employer also to communicate to employees the policies and to put them into practice. The court of Evans vs. Lee (1996) upheld its decision that employers are required to provide trainings regarding sexual harassment at a specific interval. If an employer hasn’t organized any training in the last few years and a sexual harassment incident happens within the company, the employer may be held responsible. Writing a policy does not suffice. It is the employer’s responsibility to implement this policy.

ConclusionFrom all the discussion, we can conclude that it is not easy to reduce sexual harassments or assaults at work. This is a complex issue. To eliminate workplace violence, legislation and the government must take action. The governments have a duty to pass laws that prohibit offenders. It is important that the punishments are severe so people will think twice about committing these crimes. Employers and managers of organizations are also responsible for taking the necessary steps to reduce the possibility of sexual harassment. It is important to have a policy to reduce crime. However, it must be effectively implemented by employers. These steps will help reduce the incidence of sexual harassment in Australia.


  • jacobcunningham

    Jacob Cunningham is a 26-year-old education blogger and teacher who resides in the Pacific Northwest. Jacob's teaching and writing focus on the use of technology in the classroom, and he is a frequent presenter at education conferences around the country. Jacob's work has been featured on sites such as The Huffington Post, Edutopia, and TechCrunch.



Jacob Cunningham is a 26-year-old education blogger and teacher who resides in the Pacific Northwest. Jacob's teaching and writing focus on the use of technology in the classroom, and he is a frequent presenter at education conferences around the country. Jacob's work has been featured on sites such as The Huffington Post, Edutopia, and TechCrunch.