A Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has confirmed for the purposes of the anti-sex discrimination legislation that a pub attended by co-workers after work hours constituted a ‘workplace’.

What does this mean for employers?

The case is an important reminder for employers to be conscious that sexual harassment can occur:

  • not only between employees, but between employees, contract workers, and/or partners;
  • outside of conventional locations that are ordinarily associated with work that can include a nearby pub, restaurant, public street or train station;
  • outside of conventional work hours.

In order to avoid vicarious liability for sexual harassment by one worker against another employers must take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment perpetuated at the workplace including by conducting regular training about what constitutes sexual harassment and by ensuring proper complaint handling processes are in place.