Understanding Workplace Sexual Harassment Prevention and Training in Northern Territory

Learn about the importance of prevention training and preventing workplace sexual harassment in Northern Territory through effective training. Protect your employees and create a safer work environment.

Sexual harassment has many definitions

It is important to understand that harassment is another name for harm. In addition to harassment, there are other signs of harm. The majority of sexual harassment cases in Australia are believed to be committed against women and girls. Sexual harassment is a term which has different definitions, and it has been experienced differently by each individual. On social media, we are increasingly seeing reports of harassment that has resulted in suicide attempts, anxiety, and depression. Work Health and Safety regulators in the Northern Territory adopted Safe Work Australia’s recommendations regarding modern legislation pertaining to Psychosocial Hazards. In light of the changes in the workplace, the Northern Territory workplaces are required to adopt a risk management process for psychosocial hazards.  Sexual harassment prevention training is an important step. 

In addition to sexual harassment and sexual abuse, there are other kinds of harassment, such as cyberbullying, discrimination, and harassment on the job. Let’s clarify the difference between these three types of harassment. 

In the case of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and sexual assault, what is the difference?

Often, it is difficult to distinguish between sexual offences and other types of crimes.

As the term implies, sexual harassment is a broader concept than sexual abuse and sexual assault. All three of these types of prohibited behavior are included in the definition of sexual harassment. There are various types of sexual harassment, including verbal and physical assaults, requests for sexual favors, and any other conduct that interferes with the performance of an individual’s job or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

For your convenience, we have provided a brief summary of each of the three types of sexual harassment above to provide you with a better understanding of the differences:

Sexual abuse: what is it?

As a general definition, sexual abuse refers to when a person, typically a child under 18 years of age, is subjected to sexual behavior that is exploitative or inappropriate for their age. A person can be inappropriately touched in many ways, including by family members, strangers, coaches at school, or others.

Sexual Assault: what is it?

Sexual assault can include a wide range of sexual crimes, such as inappropriate touching of private parts, kissing, groping, or pressuring the victim into doing sexual acts. 

Sexual Harassment: what is it? 

In most cases, sexual harassment involves unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that could be expected to offend, humiliate or intimidate the victim. As a matter of law, the Anti-Discrimination Act 1992 (NT) and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) prohibit sexual harassment.

An employee may be subjected to sexual harassment if they are stared at or leered at in an inappropriate manner, made sexually suggestive comments or jokes, and are asked inappropriately about their personal life or appearance on social networking sites.

Despite changes in community standards and expectations, damages awarded for sexual harassment have increased significantly. In Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd [2014], the plaintiff received $130 000 in damages as a result of sexual harassment. The decision was important because it rejected the notion that there is a “permissible range” of damages.

In Victoria, a recent regulator is another example.  A director has been charged with sexual harassment of young employees at hospitality outlets at two Melbourne hospitals after allegations of sexual harassment have been made against him, one worker, and two companies. 

It is possible to file a complaint against an individual or against their employer for sexual harassment. There is no automatic liability on the part of employers in Northern Territory for the sexual harassment conduct of their employees. In order to avoid being held vicariously liable for the conduct of an employee, an employer must demonstrate they have taken all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Harassment of a physical nature is inappropriate at the workplace

Workplaces are not the only places where physical harassment occurs. Public places are also affected by this phenomenon. There are a great number of cases of physical harassment reported at workplaces, which is why they are primarily highlighted. In addition to threats and assaults, this type of harassment involves inappropriate touching as well. Essentially, this refers to feeling uncomfortable due to another person’s presence around you. It is estimated that 50% of women in Australia are harassed at work because of their gender. Among the types of harassment that can be caused by this type of behaviour are inappropriate touching, physical acts such as pushing, punching, or slapping, or threats regarding physical acts.

Personal Harassment is unacceptable

It is the result of grudges, hatred, and negativity towards someone that personal harassment occurs. It is only women who are not subject to personal harassment. As well as inside and outside the classroom, students and teenagers are subjected to bullying. Most teenagers face bullying at school, which is a very common occurrence.

On the other hand, employees may experience dirty comments, destructive criticisms, and inappropriate intimidation at the workplace. When an employer or student is exposed to such toxic behaviour, they may be unable to perform their duties efficiently and may even back out of their roles due to the disturbed environment in which they are working.

Harassment of people with disabilities is unacceptable

Harassment of any kind is extremely detrimental. However, harassing a person with a disability is extremely harmful. In the case of anyone harassing a disabled person, we can only conclude that it is the result of a lack of moral values and ethics. There is harassment directed at people with disabilities or who use disability services. In the workplace as well as at school or university, this can be experienced by anyone. A refusal to provide accommodations for the disabled individual could also be construed as discrimination. Abusers don’t feel ashamed of their crimes because we learn that helping others is the most respectable thing we can do.

Harassment based on age is inappropriate and unacceptable

A person of any age can be subjected to this kind of harassment regardless of their age. At some places, they would not be able to perform the role due to being under the age limit or at some places, they would be over the age limit.

According to the age standard set for each class, students may be subjected to age harassment if they are the oldest in the class. As an example, if a student is being admitted to year 2, they are 10 years of age. He or she is likely to be the target of age harassment and may be bullied or made fun of, making it more difficult for them to survive.

It is possible for anyone to be harassed because of their age at work. An individual who has been working for a role for an extended period of time and has not decided to retire yet. Coworkers would criticise them in various ways, such as if a deadline was not met, if required requirements were not met within the expected timeframe, and if they did not actively participate in office activities. 

It is unacceptable to engage in psychological harassment

Also known as verbal abuse, psychological harassment is also known as psychological abuse. It is evident that this abuse has a negative impact on the mind. There is a long-term impact of psychological harassment on individuals. Consequently, they may lose their confidence, lose hope, experience anxiety, stress, and fear as a result. As a result, they are no longer able to live their lives in the same manner as other individuals. There is a greater likelihood of people suffering from mental breakdowns and ultimately attempt suicide as a result. It is dangerous to engage in this type of harassment.

In addition, requests for sexual favours are not acceptable

In general, women are not the only ones who are subjected to such harassment. Sexual favours are sometimes perpetrated against men as well. An employee who is working at a low level and has a woman as their supervisor or senior would find it difficult to escape such a situation if they were a man. As a result, both genders are subject to this type of harassment, which makes it difficult for them to decide whether to continue working or not.

Cyber bullying is one of the most dangerous forms of harassment.

As is the case in the current era, everything has been digitised. As a result of the widespread use of social media applications, cyber bullying has become an increasingly formidable form of harassment for hackers, revenge seekers, etc. It is possible to deploy a variety of methods during this harassment, including texting, threatening to spread inappropriate visual content on social media, deceiving or humiliating the recipient, etc. It may adversely affect the person’s life if cyber bullying is not addressed at the earliest possible opportunity. It is, however, imperative for anyone experiencing cyber bullying harassment to report the incident to the management as soon as possible, with supporting documentation. 

As a result of the eSafety Commissioner, Australians who have been subjected to online bullying or abuse can take action or file a complaint with the agency. Residents of the Northern Territory and other states/territories are able to access their services.

Any time you are wronged by someone in the workplace or in the public, it is your responsibility to raise your voice against the abuser. When you remain silent, they gain power and mistreat you. The reason abusers play with the emotions is that they do not receive the appropriate punishment at the right time.

Sexual harassment prevention training is one of our specialties

In case they are harassed at work, many victims do not know their rights and they cannot claim them unless they speak up and fight for their rights Northern Territory. In addition, they are not aware of what is expected of them at work and what their responsibilities are. 

We offer sexual harassment prevention training onsite, online and elearning across the Northern Territory as part of our WHS and Training Compliance Solutions program. The trainers at our company have extensive experience in the fields they train in as well as previous work experience in those fields. Therefore, they provide informed training, have a comprehensive understanding of their industries, and keep abreast of legislative changes in Northern Territory and requirements.

Access Psychosocial Hazards Books from Amazon: Psychosocial Hazards

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Pinterest
Share on WhatsApp
Related posts