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The most recent South Australian Equal Opportunity Report presented by Steph Halliday and the spotlight on behaviour in workplaces across country serve as timely reminders of our rights when it comes to sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is defined in Division 3 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth). It is important to note that sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination and can take on many forms including but not limited to: unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing; staring or leering; suggestive comments or jokes; sexually explicit pictures, screen savers or posters; unwanted invitations to go out on dates or requests for sex and many other actions.

The legal test for sexual harassment carries 3 main principles:
1. the behaviour must be unwelcome;
2. it must be of a sexual nature;
3. 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 was unwelcome is considered subjectively as to how the conduct was perceived by the recipient. This contrasts with the objective test outlined when considering if the actions were offensive, humiliating and/or intimidating.

Sections 28B to 28L of Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) attempt to cover the extent of workplaces and professional dealings for which it unlawful to engage in the above-mentioned conduct. Section 28B Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) specifically covers misconceptions about what the workplace is and who is involved in that workplace.

It is important to understand your rights and obligations in and out of the professional setting.

If you would like to know more, Straits Lawyers are here to help. We are now offering online services in both English and Chinese.

Simply book an online consultation with us via this link: or email us at or call at 08 8410 9069 to arrange an appointment.

Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice and Straits Lawyers will not be legally responsible for any actions you take based on this article.