Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW

Questioned about workplace relationship

Conciliation - Sexual harassment in employment

The complainant was involved in a sexual relationship with a colleague at work, and her partner was questioned by another colleague about the relationship. The woman said she felt hurt and humiliated by this behaviour.

The woman resigned from her position due to other issues, but as she was leaving she complained to her manager about the colleague's behaviour. When this did not produce any satisfactory results, she made a complaint of sexual harassment to the Board, against both her ex-colleague and ex-employer.

The employer said that the manager spoke to the colleague, who denied asking about the relationship. The colleague said it was common knowledge and therefore there was no need to ask. He had a brief conversation with the woman's partner about it but this did not involve any intrusive questioning.

At conciliation, the employer pointed out that the complainant had not raised the issue while she was employed. They said that said that as the complainant had left, the manager didn't think there was much more that could be done.

However the employer accepted that they had not followed their own procedure for dealing with grievances and could have done more to address the issue. They agreed to raise awareness about correct procedure in such circumstances and to respond differently in future.

Both parties apologised to the complainant and the employer agreed to pay her an amount in compensation for lost wages until she found another job. This resolved the complaint.

More information about sexual harassment

Back to Equal Time newsletter July 2018

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