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DISCRIMINATION - DISCRIMINATION LAW
WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
You may have been sexually harassed if someone has made unwelcome sexual advances, requests or acts toward you. Sexual harassment is illegal under the Sex Discrimination Act.
Unwelcome behaviour is behaviour which has not been invited by an individual. Where that is the case, sexual harassment is likely to be found to have taken place if a reasonable person would have anticipated that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated by the conduct of another. An individual, therefore, cannot defend themselves against sexual harrassment charges by claiming that they did not intend or subjectively perceive their behaviour to be sexual or offensive in nature.
The type of conduct found to be sexual harassment ranges from inappropriate comments through to physical gestures and physical touching. Importantly, it also includes sexually explicit emails or arranging sexually explicit content to appear on a personís computer screen. Penalties tend to be higher for more aggressive conduct. Sexual harassment occurs most commonly in the employment context however it can occur in many areas of public life including education, the provision of goods and services and the provision of accommodation.