Sexual harassment is unwelcome or unwanted sexual behaviour that offends, humiliates, intimidates or undermines you. It can be physical, verbal, written or other conduct.
It can be a single incident, or repeated behaviour.
Sexual harassment can include:
- pictures or photos
- emails or social media like Facebook
- suggestive behaviour
- physical acts, such as deliberately brushing up against someone.
When sexual harassment is against the law
Sexual harassment is against the law when it happens in certain areas of public life. 'Public life' includes:
- at work
- working as a volunteer
- at school, university or TAFE
- in shops
- when buying or selling goods or services
- in clubs
- activities you participate in, such as sports.
What you can do
If you are being harassed at work, it is your employer's responsibility to do everything within reason to make your workplace free from sexual harassment. For more information about what you can do see .
It is also against the law for you to be victimised because you have made a complaint about sexual harassment. This means that you can’t be treated badly or unfairly for making a complaint.
However, discrimination law is complex and it can be confusing knowing which option is the best one for you. If you complain to one place, sometimes you cannot change your mind later and complain elsewhere. It is best to speak to call us to before lodging a complaint.
Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.
We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au
Reviewed 12 April 2022