Anti-Discrimination NSW


Harassed by supervisor at food company

Conciliation: Sexual harassment in employment

Published: 1 December 2016

Two young women on working visas were sexually harassed by their supervisor at a food manufacturing company.


Two young Asian women who were in Australia on working visas were working at a food manufacturing company. They made a complaint of sexual harassment after their supervisor harassed them sexually in a number of ways, including touching them on the breast and behind, wrapping his arms around them from behind, and making suggestive remarks.

The young women initially complained to the employer and asked for an apology. The man did apologise, but he did this while the applicants were having lunch with another worker, and made a joke as he did so. They didn’t feel that this was sufficiently formal.

The supervisor denied the allegations and said that all he had done was make jokes with the young women to make them feel at home. 

The employer responded that they had dealt with the matter appropriately. The man had apologised, and was given a written warning, placed in probation for three months and required to undertake re-training on the company’s sexual harassment policy, which they said was displayed in the work area.

The women were both leaving Australia soon at the end of their working visas. At conciliation, the employer agreed to credit them with a small additional annual leave entitlement, and the supervisor agreed to pay them $5,000 each in compensation for damages. Both the employer and the supervisor provided them with written apologies.

What does the law say about sexual harassment?

Anti-discrimination law defines sexual harassment as: 

  • unwanted sexual advances, or unwelcome requests for sexual favours; or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature; and
  • in the circumstances, a reasonable person would have expected you to be offended, humiliated or intimidated by this behaviour.​​

​​More information on Sexual Harassment

​​​​​Back to December 2016 - Equal Time ​Newsletter​​​​​​​

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