Workplace advice focussed on getting you back to business

Workplace compliance, claims and the changing landscape of legal obligations are unwanted distractions for most employers. Our advice puts you in the best legal position and focusses on helping you get back to the core parts of running your business

Harassment, bullying & discrimination advice for employers

Workplace legislation places considerable responsibilities on employers to ensure they provide a safe workplace free from harassment, bullying and discrimination. Knowing and understanding your responsibilities – before issues occur – is critical in avoiding unwanted claims and legal problems.
See below for more information on the right approach for employers dealing with these issues.


Every state of Australia provides legal protection to employees against being sexually harassed in the workplace.

It’s important to note that an employer is responsible for ensuring that sexual harassment does not occur in their workplace and this includes harassment that may be committed by an employer, colleague, contractor or other person who is in a working arrangement in the workplace. It is not simply enough that an employer has policies and procedures, they must be able to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable and necessary steps to prevent it from happening.

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of sexual nature and happens when a reasonable person would expect that a person is being made to feel humiliated or intimated by the actions of another person. This might include suggestive remarks, intrusive personal questions, explicit text messages or emails and unwelcome physical contact.

Avoiding a problem before it occurs is always the best approach so Anderson Gray Lawyers offers a range of policies, training and other advice to reduce the risk of sexual harassment occurring.

If you are facing a claim for sexual harassment in your business we can help you work through a range of options to resolve it which may include:

  1. Compensation. This may involve compensating the employee for loss of wages and general damages for perceived hurt and humiliation.
  2. An apology. In less serious situations an employee might be satisfied with receiving a verbal or written apology for any incident that has occurred.
  3. Training. Employee training may be required to ensure no other employee has to go through a similar situation.
  4. Policies and procedures. Getting the right policies and processes in place to avoid future incidents.

Keeping Bullying out of your workplace

Your duty to provide a safe workplace includes ensuring that your team is not subject to workplace bullying whether from business owners, managers or other employees.

Workplace bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed at an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to health and safety. Understandably this includes protecting your employees from mental health issues that often stem from workplace bullying.

Bullying often occurs when there are cultural or behavioural issues in a workplace that are not clearly addressed or dealt with in a clear policy from management. Anderson Gray Lawyers can help you take preventative measures and provide the advice you need to minimise the chances of bullying issues arising.

If you have received a complaint from an employee about bullying occurring in your workplace it is very important that you take these complaints seriously. We can help you with the right response.

Is discrimination occurring in your workplace?

Broadly speaking, discrimination is less favourable treatment of a person because of a particular characteristic or “identifiable attribute”. Less favourable treatment could include denying access to opportunities, a demotion or firing someone.

Many employers are unfamiliar with the identifiable attributes that are included in consideration of whether actions being taken are discriminatory.
Identifiable attributes include:

  • age;
  • breastfeeding;
  • family responsibilities (responsibility to care for or support a child or other member of immediate family);
  • gender identity (a person identifies as a member of the opposite sex, or is of indeterminate sex and seeks to live as a member of a particular sex);
  • impairment (covers most physical and psychological conditions, and includes reliance of a guide, hearing, or assistance dog, wheelchair or other remedial device, as well as present and past impairments);
  • lawful sexual activity (a person’s status as a lawfully employed sex worker, whether or not self-employed);
  • parental status (includes being a step-parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, or guardian);
  • political belief or activity;
  • pregnancy;
  • race (includes colour, descent, ethnic origin, and nationality or national origin);
  • religious belief or activity (includes not holding a religious belief, and not engaging in lawful religious activity);
  • sex;
  • sexuality (heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality);
  • trade union activity;
  • association with, or relation to, a person identified on the basis of any of the above attributes;

If you are facing a complaint from a current or former employee for discrimination you need to take the matter seriously and act quickly. The damage to your personal and business brand if these complaints are not professionally addressed can be severe.

We are happy to talk to you about your situation and consider what you next best steps are for no charge and no obligation. We will then discuss fees with you once you agree to engage us to help you with these next steps.