Nsw codifies sexual harassment prohibition

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Nsw codifies sexual harassment prohibition

Sexual harassment is to be expressly outlawed in NSW legislation following the introduction of a Bill to amend the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.

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Sexual harassment is to be expressly outlawed in NSW legislation following the introduction of a Bill to amend the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.

Although NSW case law has established that sexual harassment is unlawful under the terms of the Actas a form of sex discrimination, the new Bill clarifies and codifies this position. The new provisions are modelled on the provisions in the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984.

Those provisions state that a person sexually harasses another person if:

  • the person makes an unwelcome sexual advance or unwelcome request for sexual favours; or,
  • engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to the other person;

in circumstances which a reasonable person would have anticipated, having regard to all the circumstances, that the other person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Sexual harassment by workplace participants will also be unlawful. This covers situations where the harasser and the person being harassed are not employed by the same employer, but work together in the same workplace, either for a short or extended period of time.

Note that the sexual harassment provisions apply to employers of all sizes, there being no exception for small employers.

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