Reporting or making a complaint

Employees can report or make a complaint about any instance of sexual harassment to their manager, principal and, or seek advice from a Workplace Contact Officer (WCO). The Department takes any allegations of sexual harassment seriously.

The procedures for dealing with allegations of sexual harassment and possible consequences regarding any breach of this Policy are managed and investigated in accordance with the Department’s Guidelines for managing Complaints, Misconduct and Unsatisfactory Performance. The Department encourages its employees to report any allegations of sexual harassment by using the internal complaints processes.

If a complaint of sexual harassment is made, or sexual harassment is observed or brought to the attention of an executive, principal or manager, it must be acted upon immediately and managed in a sensitive and confidential manner.

Where a complaint of sexual harassment is found to be substantiated, the consequences for the person against whom the complaint is made will depend on the particular circumstances. The consequences may include an apology, counselling, undertaking training, or disciplinary action which may include termination of employment.

At any time employees may also choose to take a complaint of sexual harassment to the following organisations:

An employee may also wish to contact their union for representation and support.

Bystander intervention

Bystanders, including colleagues, who witness or are aware of sexual harassment, can play an important role in preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. When grounded in behaviours of integrity and respect, action taken by colleagues can positively impact on defining workplace culture. When safe to do so, bystanders that are aware of sexual harassment are encouraged to:

  • provide support to the colleague who is being subjected to sexual harassment,
  • formally or informally challenge concerning behaviour, and
  • report sexual harassment

The standard that people walk past is the standard that people accept.

In some situations, a witness may wish to remain anonymous and where appropriate, anonymity will be provided. However, it may not be possible in all circumstances to keep the identity of a person, or people providing information, confidential. In some situations, it may be the case that full details of allegations are required for appropriate inquiries to be made or so that a respondent is afforded procedural fairness and natural justice.

Information or claims without substance

Employees found to have knowingly provided false information, or knowingly made allegations of sexual harassment without any substantive merit, may be subject to separate disciplinary action.

Reporting or making a complaint for Sexual Harassment

Reviewed 19 May 2020

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