Sexual Harassment cases

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Richardson v Oracle Corporation Pty Ltd [2014] FCAFC 82

The complainant was awarded $100,000.00 as general damages for the loss of enjoyment in life along with the mental detriment directly caused by the sexual harassment. Further, the complainant was awarded $30,000.00 for the economic loss she suffered as a result.

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Katherine Hill v Owen Hughes t/as Beesley & Hughes Lawyers [2019] 287 IR 86

The court awarded a total compensation of $170,000.00 to the complainant who was a female lawyer employed by the Respondent. The compensation was split into $120,000.00 as general damages for the loss of enjoyment of life and the mental distress caused by the sexual harassment, and $50,000.00 for economic loss.

Hawkins v Malnet Pty Ltd (T/A Class & Cars) & Anor (1995) EOC 92-767

The complainant in this case was sexually harassed by her manager and his cousin. Although the cousin was not related to the business on a formal basis, the NSW Equal Opportunity Tribunal found that the manager and the employer of the complainant were vicariously liable for the actions of anyone that is on their premises in relation to incidents such as these. The complainant was awarded $8,000.00 in general damages for the pain and suffering.

Doyle v Riley & Anor (1995) EOC 92-748 and Moore v Brown & Anor (1995) EOC 92-749

The complainants in these cases were awarded $20,000.00 and $13,240.00 respectively in the form of damages as a result of sexual harassment suffered by both of them. In this case, an Aboriginal community housing service was found vicariously liable for the actions of their treasurer/director, despite him being engaged on a voluntary basis.

Adams v Helios Electroheat Pty Ltd (1996) EOC 92-856

The complainant was awarded damages amounting to a total of $15,000.00. The Respondent was awarded to pay compensation for lacking adequate mechanisms to deal with complaints of sexual harassment and for failing to properly consider the complainant’s genuine complaint about harassment and unwelcome touching.

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Nunan v Aaction Traffic Services Pty Ltd [2013] QCAT 565 (Member Gordon)

The complainant was awarded a total of $102,217.00 for compensation after experiencing severe sexual harassment by a male co-worker when she worked in traffic control which was a male-dominated workplace. The sexual harassment involved routine and repeated sexual comments and taunts. The male co-worker accidentally saw a picture of the woman’s breasts on her phone and then continued to make sucking noises in her presence, grinded on a stop/slow stick around her whilst sticking out his tongue. She resigned that night. 

Lee v Smith [2007] FMCA 59 (Connolly FM)

The complainant in this case was subjected to sexual harassment, sex discrimination, victimisation, pornography in the workplace, rape for years in her employment. There were four separate respondents in this claim, all of whom the Connolly FM found them liable to remedy the complainant for all their unlawful acts and for vicarious liability.

Connolly FM ordered the following for the complainant, with the First, Second, Third and Fourth Respondents all being jointly and severally responsible for each:

  • General damages: $100,000.00, together with interest at the rate of 10.25%
  • Special damages: $232,163.22
  • Interest on special damages: $53,572.72
  • Past medical expenses: $20,259.10
  • Future loss of income and medical expenses: $35,000.00

Darren Williamson v Tilling Timber Pty Ltd [2020] FWC 4275

The Applicant was employed by the Respondent as a factory hand, and then promoted a number of times throughout his employment which began on 18 April 2012. The Applicant’s employment was terminated on 7 February 2020. The Respondent argued that the Applicant did not have grounds to bring an unfair dismissal application as they were dismissed for reasons of genuine redundancy.

However, the Commission found in favour of the Applicant and found that his termination was unjust and unreasonable. The failure to consult and redeploy the Applicant was unjust and unreasonable, in spite of there being a valid reason for the dismissal. The Commissioner calculated the economic loss of the Applicant to be approximately 12 weeks, taking into account all the circumstances. A further reduction of 20% was applied as the Applicant had not made an effort to mitigate the unfair dismissal. The Respondent was ordered to pay $10,492.63 gross.

Mt Isa Mines Limited v Hopper [1999] 2 Qd R 496

The complainant was awarded a total of $48,724.10 as compensation from the Respondent. Costs were all ordered on the District Court Scale for matters under $50,000.00. in the complainant’s workplace, there were inappropriate and sexually derogatory conversations about her in the workplace. There was also a lot of conjecture about her sexual activity.

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Green v State of Queensland [2017] QCAT 008

The complainant in this case was awarded a total of $156,051.00 as compensation, consisting of:

  • Non-financial loss (pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, embarrassment, humiliation and intimidation suffered): $70,000
  • Interest on non-financial loss: $3,160
  • Past loss of income (gross): $17,430
  • Past loss of superannuation: $1,656
  • Future loss of income: $48,338
  • Future loss of superannuation: $5,467
  • Future cost of treatment: $10,000

This case was about a cleaner who suffered significantly after a male and female co-worker pulled a prank on him by staging a scene that represented two people having sex in it, and where he was made to clean up the scene. The two co-workers had set up the room with empty alcohol bottles, clothes and a condom containing a fluid. The male co-worker teased the complainant further by taunting him to smell the boxers that had been left in the room.

STU v JKL (Qld) Pty Ltd [2016] QCAT 505

The complainant was awarded a total of $328,316.10, made up of:

  • General damages (personal injury): $70,000
  • Interest on general damages: $8,260
  • Past financial loss (gross of income tax after deduction of worker’s compensation payments): $16,594.42
  • Interest on past financial loss: $33,575.75
  • Past loss of superannuation: $4,348.70
  • Future economic loss: $25,000
  • Interest on special damages: $81.77
  • Future medical and associated costs: $3,000

In this case, the complainant was a young woman who was arranged to share work-provided accommodation with a man. Whilst they were sharing accommodation, this was when the older man presented his naked self to the complainant, touched her upper thigh and groin without consent and tried to remove her underpants. As a result of the sexual harassment, the complainant suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and was unable to work for more than 2 years after the incident.

KW v BG Limited, DP & DF [2009] QADT 7

The complainant was awarded a total compensation of $24,425.00 for general damages and economic loss in regard to their sexual harassment claim before the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Tribunal. The respondent/employer was ordered to pay damages when they failed to take sufficient action in relation to the employee’s report of inappropriate sexual behaviour. The alleged sexual harassment was serious, including kissing, touching her legs and breasts, consistent requests to have drinks outside of work despite constant rejection, asking for hugs and cuddles, calling her outside of work and repeatedly making unsolicited sexual remarks.

Collins v Smith (2015) 256 IR 52

 The complainant was awarded compensation in the amount of $332,280.00. This total sum payable by the Respondent were for the injury, loss and damage suffered as a consequence of the respondent’s breach of sexual harassment provisions in contravention of the Equal Opportunity Act (Vic) 2010. The Applicant suffered severely as a direct result of the sexual harassment and developed chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder and anxiety as a direct consequence of the respondent’s found actions.

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Williams v Robinson & Anor (2000) EOC 93-112

The complainant was an employee in the air force and she alleged that sexual harassment had occurred in her employment on two occasions. The Equal Opportunity Commission ordered compensation in favour of the complainant in the amount of $130,000.00 total – consisting of $30,000 in the form of general damages for the pain and suffering and $100,000.00 for the loss in income. The complaints were that the first respondent had approached her from behind and pulled her to his groin for a sustained period of time.

D v Berkeley Challenge Ltd [2001] NSWADT 92

In this case, the complainant was awarded a total of $26,800.00 from her employers who were found to be vicariously liable for the sexual harassment that occurred in their workplace, despite having a sexual harassment policy being in place. This was found to be insufficient to not find vicarious liability on the facts. The compensation consisted of $11,800 for loss of income and other economic loss and $15,000.00 in the form of general damages for the emotional distress she suffered as a direct result.    

Conciliated outcomes: Unreported/Confidential

  1. The complainant received $15,000.00 as compensation for sexual harassment in the workplace. She also received a written apology from the respondent as part of the outcome. The complainant was alleging that her manager ha sexually harassed her at the club she was employed at for a significant period over several years. The allegations against the manager were serious, including touching her breasts without consent, staring inappropriately and making comments about her body of a sexual nature. The woman had complained to her employer on several occasions, all of which were ignored. She was even victimised in the workplace by being denied promotions throughout her employment. She eventually resigned and brought this claim to the Queensland Human Rights Commission.
  1. The complainant received $60,000.00 as general damages for pain and suffering as a result of sexual harassment, along with a written apology from the respondents. The claim was about how the complainant was a student and the alleged perpetrator of sexual harassment against her was her boss and academic mentor. The complainant claimed the position of authority he had over her was especially distressing. The respondent claimed that the relationship was mutual and with consent, however, both parties were pleased with how the conciliation was settled.
The Quickest Way to Get an indication of your cases worth is to speak to a representative on 1800 333 666