Sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour where a reasonable person would have anticipated the possibility that the person harassed would feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.

The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (section 28A) defines the nature and circumstances in which sexual harassment is unlawful.

" A person sexually harasses another person (the person harassed ) if:

                     (a)  the person makes an unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours, to the person harassed; or

                     (b)  engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature  in relation to the person harassed;

                      "conduct of a sexual nature" includes making a statement of a sexual nature to a person, or in the presence of a person, whether the statement  is made orally or in writing.

The legal test for sexual harassment in the Sex Discrimination Act (1984, Cth) has three essential elements:

the behaviour must be unwelcome; it must be of a sexual nature; it must be such that a reasonable person would anticipate in the circumstances that the person who was harassed would be offended, humiliated and/or intimidated.

Whether the behaviour is unwelcome is a subjective test: how the conduct in question was perceived and experienced by the recipient rather than the intention behind it.

Whether the behaviour was offensive, humiliating or intimidating is an objective test: whether a reasonable person would have anticipated that the behaviour would have this effect.

The unwelcome behaviour must have a sexual element, overtone or implication, it need not be repeated or continous.  A single incident can amount to sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is prohibited regardless of the sex of the parties, so a person can make a complaint if they are harassed by someone of the same sex. For example, a recent sexual harassment case involved a male apprentice boiler-maker who was subjected to comments about his sex life by male co-workers.

Examples of sexual harassment include:

  • displayng images of a sexual and pornogrpahic nature ;
  • making suggesive sexual commennts and jokes ;
  • making unwaranted inviations to meet both within and ouside of work ;
  • comments regarding how one looks, in relation to the way they look, their clothes and general appearance ;
  • intrusive questions about a person's private life or body ;
  • explaining personal insights about their private ans sex life;
  • unwelcome touching, hugging, cornering or kissing,
  • inappropriate staring or leering that made you feel intimidated;
  • sexual gestures, indecent exposure or inappropriate display of the body ;
  • sexually explicit pictures, posters or gifts that made you feel offended ;
  • repeated or inappropriate invitations to go our for dates and drinks ;
  • unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person ;
  • emailing pornography or rude jokes ;
  • displaying images of a sexual nature around the workplace ;
  • communication content of a sexual nature through social media or text messages ;
  • being followed or watched or having someone loitering nearby;
  • requests or pressure for sex or other sexual acts ;
  • a senior manager using his or her position and power of authority o offer rewards and or perks and or advacne your career by requesting sexual favours ;
  • behaviour which would also be an offence under the criminal law, such as physical assault, indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking or obscene communications ;
  • a working environment or workplace culture that is sexually permeated or hostile may also amount to unlawful sexual harassment.

One important question is who is ultimately liable for the acts of sexual harassment that an individual has expereinced. The perpretrator is personally liable and we can maintain an action against him personally. Under section 106 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) employers may be vicariously liable if an employee commits sexual harassment, and the employer did not take all reasonable steps to prevent the employee from doing these acts. 

Connect Legal and its team of solicitors are very experienced  and knowledgeable in prosecuting sexual  harassment claims both at the Australian Human Rights Commission, the relevant State Tribunals, the Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court.

The process of prosecuting a claim, needs extensive interviews, listening to all the detailed allegations and preparing comprehensive factual and legal submissions.

Connect Legal and its team of solicitors will wholeheatedly and sympathetically listen to your workplace experiences and understand what remedies both non fiancaial and financials outcomes you want to achieve. Our advice will be specifically tailored to your circumstances, which might involve resloving the matter at the workplace, defending your discrimination rights at the Australian Human Rights Commission and on occassions at  the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.  

Indeed, where many aggreieved individuals become unstuck is when their matter cannot resolve at the Australian Human Rights Commission and accessing the Federal Circuit Court is required. Regularly we receive calls " we do not know what to do, the mediation process was not helpfuul, I was not believed, but I still want to progress my matter".

Connect Legal is one of the very few employment and discrimination legal teams, who have acted for multiple clients at the Federal Circuit Court and obtained fair and reasonable settlements. We understand the court process, the pleadings,the  statement of claims required and how both the facts and law must flow together in successfuly prosecuting a sexual harassment claim.

Indeed the legal process is not straight forward, but as long as you have an experienced,  well resourced legal team, who truly can feel the hurt and pain you have endured, have detailed affidavits / medical reports, the court process is not as daunting as it seems. Throughout the Federal Circuit Court process face to face mediation  does once again occur and we have seen very sucessful outcomes, both non financial and non financial for  our clients over the last two decades.

Connect Legal has been defending employee rights in relation to discrimination and sexual harassment for over  two decades and please feel free to contact our office(02-98892239)  for a discussion.

We can also travel  closer to your home and or workplace if required.

Our work is also undetaken on a no win no fee basis and a written costs agreement will br provided prior to any work being undertaken.


There is no question, this is a clear-cut case of sexual harassment, where your senior manager who has a position of authority, has made very inappropriate comments about your appearance and your clothing. More importantly, he has asked very personal questions about your private life, which has made you feel very uncomfortable. Furthermore, the personal insights about his private life as to his relationship with his partner is highly inappropriate and will constitute sexual harassment. Sexual Harassment can be both direct and indirect, thereby the observations can not only be directed towards you, but off the cuff comments about one’s life and others.

Connect Legal has assisted many clients over the last two decades in similar situations where a senior manager has made very sexually suggestive comments about clients visiting the store. These comments and sexual nicknames once again are clear cases of sexual harassment, even though they’re not directed at you. We again reiterate that indirect discrimination occurs regularly in the workplace, and one has to be very refrained about making sexual comments, not only about work colleagues but all stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, and contractors.

Firstly, you should be communicating with a very experienced employment and discrimination lawyer in this area, that is very experienced at the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Federal Circuit Court. Only if you are comfortable with your selected solicitor, you should instruct them to lodge a sexual harassment claim at the AHRC. The process from lodgement to mediation of this matter can take at least 6 months. If your mediation is unsuccessful, thereafter you have 60 days to lodge your statement of claim at the Federal Circuit Court, where you have to particularise the allegations, the facts, and the substantive law, Connect Legal is very experienced in all these jurisdictions, our team is only a phone call away and we are even happy to come and visit you close to home to have a confidential free discussion.

Sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour where a reasonable person would have anticipated the possibility that the person harassed would feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. The harassment can be both direct or indirect, and in this case, it is indirect with comments made about others in the workplace. Firstly, you should write an email to your manager outlining the allegations and how this makes you feel uncomfortable. If you don’t receive a reasonable response, then you should provide a written email to Senior Management outlining the above sexual harassment allegations. Sometimes management will find a workable solution, but our experience has shown that that is always very challenging. We would strongly recommend that you lodge a sexual harassment claim, and remain firm, because experiences show that in these hostile workplaces, the word ‘denial’ will pop up left right and centre.

Indeed Connect Legal has helped male individuals like yourself in defending and safeguarding their employment and discrimination rights at both the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Employees need to understand " work is work" and not an environment to discuss indepth their personal and sexual activities outside of work. What is more hurtful is the sexual advances he is making towards you and this is undoubtedly unwelcome sexual conduct. What people do in their spare time is their dilemma , but they cannot sexual harass fellow employees at work and especially when you have asked them to cease on numerous occasions.

We have fielded many calls over the last two decades from a multitude of female health care workers, and understand it is not very easy to speak up. Sometimes it is the fear of not being believed, other times it is the impact on one’s job. However, what is crucial is that you need to speak up and defend your employment and discrimination rights, and if you believe that your credibility might be questioned, then it might be time to speak to a very experienced discrimination lawyer. Connect Legal is one of the very few firms Australia wide who is truly experienced in Discrimination Law. We will conduct extensive telephone calls with you, and more importantly travel out to see you for those vital face-to-face interviews.

Resigning from your employment is not easy, because it will have a significant impact on your income stream, but at the same time being ethical and honourable in this very toxic workplace is more important. Toxic workplaces are not conducive for employee moral and productivity. More importantly, there may be serios breaches of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Corporations Act 2000. Accordingly, our strong recommendation would be that your place forward your concerns to the Senior Managing Partner and if the matters you raise are not remedied within a period of 4 weeks (an investigation may be required and memo sent out to cease the behaviour) then our strong advice would be that resignation is inevitable. If you face this scenario, like various clients have over the last two decades, then please contact Connect Legal, its senior solicitors, and within 48 hours we will organise a face to face interview to ascertain the allegations and facts regarding your toxic workplace and impending resignation.

This is a very disturbing situation when we receive these types of calls because you have two claims to safeguard your employment and discrimination rights. One being an adverse action claim, and the other a sexual harassment claim. Even though you have only worked for a short period of 4 months, that is 1 factor in the mix but the material matters are that you exercised your workplace rights and you were subjected to vulgar sexual comments and behaviour. These matters will have to be joined concurrently through the Federal Circuit Court process. Yes, it will take 6-9 months to find a sensible solution but it is essential that you be proactive and defend your workplace rights.

Believability is a matter Connect Legal regularly is confronted with in client interviews , at the Human Rights Commission and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and as we always advocate " patience is needed for the truth to ultimately come out and obtain what are both non financial and financial outcomes". The more deeper the legal process does enter, the more face to face conferences, we are provided more deeper insights into the individuals alleged actions. Rest assured Connect Legal has obtained its clients very sensible results , but what is clear from the many sexual harassment surveys, you need to defend your discrimination rights and work with a very experience and knowledgeable legal team and who can assist on a no win no fee basis. Connect Legal and its team were the pioneers of no win no fee arrangements in the employment litigation realm and for over two decades have quietly and forcefully defended their clients employment and discrimination workplace rights.

We would highly recommend you place your concerns in writing, highlighting examples and asking him to stop. If he persists, please then only in writing inform human resources or senior management to undertake an investigation. If you seem no material outcome from this process our office and legal team is only a call away on 02-9889 2239 and we can come and even visit you close to home, whether in Sydney, regional NSW and or Australia wide.

Indeed, it is much more beneficial that an individual who has experienced sexual harassment does raise allegations in writing to the business’ Human Resources department and more importantly senior management. Our experience through the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Federal Circuit Court is that employers regularly say “she never made the complaint, so it never occurred” or “she made the complaints after her termination through her lawyers” or “because she never complained she has no credibility and the alleged acts have not occurred.” The Sex Discrimination Act does not specify that for a successful prosecution of a sexual harassment claim that an aggrieved individual has to make a written or verbal complaint to management and/or HR. The numerous calls that we receive, individuals on the majority of occasions have not raised the issues of sexual harassment either verbally and/or in writing, but this has never precluded our firm from procuring very successful nonfinancial and financial resolutions through the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Federal Circuit Court and/or the Federal Court.

The Sex Discrimination Act has safeguarded the rights of individuals since 1984 and you have experienced sexual harassment at work. sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual conduct and there is no dispute what you experienced at the work conference was conduct of a sexual nature and clearly it was unwelcome. You explained strongly to your manager to cease the behaviour but regrettably he continued with his behaviour. Hopefully your work colleagues who were at the dinner and those who came to the rom will stand up and talk the truth but considering he is a senior manager there is always the fear of not talking because they could lose their job. Connect Legal and its team of solicitors finds this very troubling because sexual harassment has to be stamped out at the worksite immediately and there is a saying that silence in itself is a very serious crime. We are unsure if your work colleagues will give you written statements, but what is important is that you safeguard your discrimination rights and this is where Connect Legal’s decades of experience in helping individuals who have suffered sexual harassment can help. We not only offer our service in Sydney, but also extensively in NSW and country-wide and all the work will be undertaken in a no win no fee basis.

It is abhorrent that you are facing this unwelcome conduct from a supervisor who is senior to you. It is important that you make your employer aware of your supervisor’s inappropriate conduct, explain to them in writing that the conduct has caused you stress and anxiety and provide them with medical certificates whilst on stress leave. It is difficult to predict how your employer may react to you informing them of these very serious sexual harassment issues and there may be an internal investigation process to determine whether your allegations are substantiated and in our extensive experience over the years, HR is often unable to substantiate claims and takes little action to support the individual being harassed. As you are a contractor, your employer may simply say there is no more work for you. However this is not right because as a contractor, you still have rights under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984. Connect Legal can assist you by undertaking extensive interviews regarding the sexual harassment and lodging a claim at the Australian Human Rights Commission. You may also have a sham contracting claim and we can also assist you in this matter by lodging concurrent claims, one for sham contracting with the Fair Work Commission and another sexual harassment claim at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Over the years, Connect Legal has assisted countless individuals Australia-wide and across various industries who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. It is inappropriate for your manager to make these sexual comments regarding his personal life and he should not be making these sexual comments, especially after you have explained to him that the comments make you feel uncomfortable. Connect Legal can assist you by conducting extensive interviews regarding the sexual harassment you experienced and thereafter lodging a sexual harassment claim at the Australian Human Rights Commission. All our work is undertaken on a no win no fee basis and we are here to listen and safeguard your discrimination rights. By lodging a claim, your employer and manager may realise that their conduct was discriminatory, unlawful, and hopefully they will implement policies in the workplace to prevent this conduct in the future.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual conduct and there is a great myth that it only occurs between two colleagues, when a colleague makes sexually suggestive comments and or touches a fellow colleague. On the contrary, sexual harassment is much broader than that and will provide your two examples. One example, is when your team members and or senior managers make sexually suggestive and obscene comments about other employees and their physical looks. Another example is when we’re out and about, at work conferences and or lunches your colleagues and your senior managers make once again sexually suggestive comments or observations about general members of the public. These are all instances of sexual misconduct and this behaviour has to stop immediately. I know it’s difficult, but you have to take a stance and explain to each colleague maybe on a one-on-one basis, that these comments are inappropriate and that that should cease immediately . IF the behaviour still continues I would you strongly recommend that you contact the managing director and or human resources and make a written complaint. Connect Legal and its team of solicitors is always available to provide phone support and legal advice if needed.

Yes it does, training and learning and development processes play a fundamental step in eradicating all forms of discrimination in the workplace. If each employee is aware of what workplace bullying and discrimination is and provided very acute examples, they know the consequences could have on their employment then this significantly eradicates this type of behaviour. Your company must be congratulated on its training processes, and if ever a sexual harassment case arises, they would have a very strong defence for vicarious liability under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, meaning they could argue very strongly that they weren’t liable for the actions of the employees.

Yes this this is sexual harassment because it’s unwelcome sexual conduct The behaviour and discussions are of a sexual nature, you were not the initiator of them and you have found them very unwelcome. Once again there is a myth within society that sexual harassment is only when one employee makes comments to another employee about their appearance, physical attributes and or touches them etc. Sexual harassment is very broad and the courts have taken a similar view. However the dilemma has been the very few cases of this nature ever make it to the surface and into the court systems. What we strongly recommend that you inform the individual what you’re doing is not appropriate. If he persists again also talk to the workshop supervisor and or owner. If legal help and advice is needed, please contract our office, our phone lines are open seven days a week and you can chat with our team of experience solicitors, who have a wealth of knowledge within this area and will give you very timely advice

The 2018 National survey provided a very clear picture of the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. It found workplace sexual harassment was a common problems and at least 33% of individuals indicated they had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the last five years. Almost two in five females (39%) and one in four males (26%) had experienced workplace sexual harassment.

The 2020 National inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian workplaces stated at page 134, " sexual harassment occurred in a broad range of workplaces, such as courtrooms, classroom, kitchens, restaurants, construction sites, mines, hospitals, healthcare settings, retail establishments, farms, racing studs, workshops, warehouses" and hence sexual harassment is not restricted to a specific industry and or workplace. If you experience sexual harassment and or believe your workplace colleagues conduct is unwelcomed and of a sexual nature, please contact Connect Legal for a phone discussion to confidentiality explain your situation. After various phone discussions and if you require legal help , we will organise an interview at our Ryde office and or venture out towards where you work and or live.

The court can award damages for your economic loss, as long as you can establish a causal link between the unlawful sexual harassment and the economic loss that is alleged to flow from the conduct. For example, if you resign from your employment and are subsequently unemployed because of the sexual harassment or your employer’s inability to investigate the conduct, you can seek to be paid economic loss for the period of unemployment or for example, any demotion in your employment position. Economic loss can be sought for both past economic loss and future economic loss, for example where you are unfit for work to provide a significant period because of the conduct. Finally, economic loss can also include any losses you incurred for medical, pharmaceutical or other related expenses such as the cost of seeing a medical professional. General damages refers any alleged loss or damage for hurt, humiliation and any injury suffered because of the conduct. Usually an Applicant or victim would file a Medico Legal Report by either a psychologist or psychiatrist which would evidence any loss and damage.

Aggravated damages are awarded where the perpetrator’s conduct is especially vicious or heinous and aggravated in some form. For example, the conduct may be repetitive and continue unabated even where the victim has requested that the conduct cease. Exemplary or punitive damages are often confused with aggravated damages. The difference is that exemplary damages are generally ordered to punish the wrong-doer and to deter the conduct for the future. Exemplary damages are not compensatory in nature and are only imposed in very limited circumstances.

Connect Legal for over decades has diligently and quietly defended and safeguarded our client's employment and discrimination rights. The word " fight" conjures up images of undue stress and complexities and we wholeheartedly condemn the use of this word in legal literature. Connect Legal's philosophy is about defending and safeguarding client rights, which required discipline, diligence and extensive tea work. Yes results make take more time, but the landmark judgements we have obtained within the owner driver area, sham contracting, disability discrimination were because of our unique philosophy. Please see our judgement page.

Our legal services will be undertaken on a No Win No Fee basis as has been the case from inception when we commenced defending employee rights in the late 90s. We will provide a written costs agreement outlining our No Win No Fee policy and will provide an estimate of the applicable fees.