Blog - Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual Harassment in Small Businesses: What Can I Do?

Sexual Harassment, Sexual Harassment in Small Businesses
Young Woman Defending Herself For Sexual Harassment In Business Office

Just like their larger counterparts, small businesses are not immune from the laws prohibiting workplace sexual harassment and discrimination. Even though they lack a dedicated Human Resources department or stringent reporting requirements, small businesses are also under a duty to prevent sexual harassment and discrimination from occurring in their workplace.

Moreover, employees are in an even more precarious position when their boss is the perpetrator sexually harassing them. It may be difficult to report the sexual-harassment because employees may feel that they have no one to turn to for support, and they may be concerned about losing their job or being subjected to other adverse action if they make a complaint. 

Although it is difficult for employees of a small business to report their sexual-harassment, it is important for them to remember that they are not alone. Even if it is futile attempting to have the matter addressed by the company itself, employees can still pursue their matter with an external regulatory body, such as the Fair Work Commission, or the Human Rights Commission of their state.

Victims of sexual-harassment can also be aided in what may be a daunting process through retaining representation in their matter. By engaging a representative, victims of sexual-harassment can complain about the wrongful treatment to which they have been subjected, but through an independent expert that will negotiate the matter with their employer and ensure the matter is handled with all due care, skill and diligence to achieve a rightful outcome.

72% of Australians have reported being sexually harassed on at least one occasion in their lifetime.[1] Small businesses are not exempt from laws prohibiting sexual harassment and discrimination, and all wronged employees have the right to pursue justice for the way they have been treated in the workplace.

Sexual Harassment, Sexual Harassment in Small Businesses
Angry unhappy Asian secretary woman looking hand’s boss touching her shoulder in the workplace. Sexual harassment in the office

Sexual harassment, what evidence do I need? Click here

[1] Australian Human Rights Commission, Everyone’s Business: Fourth National Survey on Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces (Report, 2018) 18 (‘Fourth National Survey’); Australian Human Rights Commission, Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces (Report, 2020) 85 (‘Respect@Work Report’).

Sexual Harassment
Businessman pestering female colleague in the workplace. Harassment at work concept