Sexual harassment​

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is against the law and is any unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature that makes you feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment can be physical, verbal or written.

Sexual harassment could be:

  • sexually suggestive comments or jokes in person, on the phone, in emails, or on social media that make you feel offended
  • unwelcome or inappropriate touching, hugging, cornering or kissing
  • inappropriate staring or leering that makes you feel intimidated
  • intrusive questions about your private life or physical appearance that make you feel offended
  • sexual gestures, indecent exposure or inappropriate display of the body
  • being followed, watched or someone loitering nearby
  • requests or pressure for sex or other sexual acts
  • repeated or inappropriate invitations to go out on dates
  • sexually explicit pictures, posters or gifts that make you feel offended
  • actual or attempted rape or sexual assault
  • sharing or threatening to share intimate images or film of you without your consent
  • any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that happened online or on some form of technology. 

In what areas is sexual harassment against the law?

Sexual harassment is against the law in certain public places, including:

  • employment, such as when you apply for a job or while you are at work (volunteers and unpaid workers also have the same rights and responsibilities in relation to sexual harassment as paid staff)
  • when you give or receive goods and services, for example when you are shopping, when you do your banking or access medical services
  • state education, such as when you apply for study and during your studies
  • accommodation, such as when you rent accommodation 
  • when you buy or sell real estate
  • at registered clubs (clubs that sell alcohol or have gambling machines), such as when you try to enter or join a club
  • in organised sports competitions, including coaching a team, participating in an event and administrating events
  • when carrying out state laws or programs on behalf of the state government.

What are my rights at work?

You are entitled to a safe working environment and your employer has a duty to provide this to you. This includes ensuring your working environment is free of sexual harassment. 

What can I do if I am sexually harassed?

If you are unsure if you have experienced sexual harassment or if you need more information, you can contact our enquiry service.

If you feel you have been sexually harassed, you can try speaking to the person or organisation directly to express how you feel if you are comfortable to do so. If this isn’t appropriate, you can contact us to make a complaint.

If you are treated unfairly because you have made a complaint or because you have provided evidence or information about a complaint, this is known as victimisation and is also against the law.

If you have experienced a serious incident of sexual harassment or assault, we recommend that you report this to the NSW Police.

​Do you have a question about sexual harassment? 

Contact our enquiry service.