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A Bad Business - Fact Sheet: Key Findings

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A Bad Business
(Review of sexual harassment in employment complaints 2002)

Media Pack

In this section you can access:

Media Pack Index | Media
| Launch Speech by Pru Goward | Speech by Nareen Young | Case
Fact Sheets: Key Findings | The
Complaints Process
| Legal Definition
of Sexual Harassment
| Cost to Employers

Fact Sheet:

Key Findings

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
Commission (HREOC) reviewed 152 complaints of sexual harassment in
the workplace that were finalised in 2002. Following are the key findings
from this review.

The information available in relation
to each of the 152 complaints varied. As such, it was not always possible
to determine each finding in relation to all of the complaints. For
each of the findings below, the number of complaints for which the
particular information was available is noted in brackets.

The reported harassment was by
men against women

  • 86 per cent of complaints involved
    a man sexually harassing a woman (of 152 complaints). The remaining
    14 per cent of complaints included harassment of men and harassment
    by women.
  • 95 per cent of the complainants
    were female (of 152 complaints). 88 per cent of individual respondents
    were male, five per cent were female and seven per cent involved
    both male and female respondents (of 152 complaints).

The nature of the reported harassment

  • Most complaints involved multiple
    forms of harassing behaviours. 71 per cent of complaints involved
    verbal harassment, 37 per cent involved physical intimacy and 23
    per cent involved sexual physical behaviour (of 152 complaints).
  • 18 per cent of cases involved an
    isolated incident of sexual harassment (of 136 complaints). In 22
    per cent of cases the harassment had continued for more than 12
  • 72 per cent of complainants reported
    that the harassment began in the first 12 months of the complainant’s
    employment (of 121 complaints). 51 per cent reported harassment
    as beginning within the first four months of employment.
  • 60 per cent of individual respondents
    were in a more senior position in the workplace than the complainant
    (of 161 individual respondents).

Harassment is an issue for all
forms of busines

  • 44 per cent of complainants were
    employed in small businesses, 19 per cent in medium sized businesses
    and 36 per cent were employed in large businesses (of 135 complaints).
  • 51 per cent of complainants were
    employed in the occupational groups of clerical, hospitality, shop
    assistant and labourer (of 146 complaints).
  • 67 per cent of reported harassment
    occurred in workplaces located in cities, 31 per cent occurred in
    rural areas and three per cent was in remote rural areas (of 150
  • 78 per cent of complainants had reported the harassment within their
    workplace (of 130 complaints).

Harassment has a cost for employers

  • At the time the complaint was
    made to HREOC, only seven per cent of complainants were known still
    to be actively working for the organisation where the alleged harassment
    occurred. 67 per cent had left the organisation and 10 per cent
    were on leave (of 152 complaints).
  • Financial compensation received by complainants
    varied from $500 to $200,000 and was most often paid by employers
    rather than the individual harasser.

This fact sheet is also
available for download in PDF Document for DownloadPDF and Word Document for DownloadWord formats.

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updated: 12 November 2003