Allegations of sexual harassment have dominated headlines, most visibly with the #MeToo campaign.

Sexual harassment complaints, and the laws that attempt to curb the behaviours, are not new. Despite regulation, sexual harassment is still occurring in workplaces. Why?

One answer may be that organisations guard against sexual harassment through policy and lecture style training without

The Victorian Supreme Court recently issued a stunning decision awarding an employee over $600,000 comprising $210,000 for pain and suffering and the balance for lost past and future income, despite the employee having a significant pre-existing psychiatric illness and a finding that no bullying had occurred.  
Continue Reading Damages in bullying claims – the stakes are rising even higher

The stakes are risingIn the world of anti-discrimination law awards of money against employers for psychiatric injury or illness caused by sexual harassment by one of their employees have been rare and low, typically in the range of $12,000 to $20,000. Similarly, the anti-bullying jurisdiction of the Fair Work Commission has seen limited orders made to prevent further bullying where claims have been made, and compensation is not available as a remedy for bullying behavior.

But things are changing, especially in the area of sexual harassment where awards of damages for psychiatric illness are increasing. This reflects change in societal attitude towards this type of conduct that has (finally) started to be reflected in judicial pronouncements.

The spectrum of mental harm that can be experienced by victims of sexual harassment or bullying covers depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) any of which can be debilitating for a significant period.


Continue Reading Damages in sexual harassment and bullying claims – the stakes are rising

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’.
Continue Reading Sexual harassment ‘down the pub’ can still give rise to employer liability

On 15 July 2014 the Full Federal Court awarded a victim of sexual harassment $100,000 as compensation for her distress caused by the sexual harassment of her by a colleague at work. Before this decision compensation for non-economic loss in sexual harassment claims in Australia had effectively been capped at $20,000 (other than in cases of psychological trauma resulting in inability to work). 
Continue Reading Sexual harassment claims: No flood but the odd spot may become a trickle!