In a recent Federal Court case, an employee brought an action for discrimination and sexual harassment against a contractor (who was engaged by her employer and allegedly sexually harassed her), the contractor’s employer and her own employer.
When discussing the matter, the Court found that even though the contractor and the applicant were not ‘fellow employees’ as defined in the Sex Discrimination Act, he was found to be a ‘workplace participant’ and was deemed capable of contravening the Act.
Ultimately the contractor was ordered to pay damages in the vicinity of $476,000.00 to the applicant and the applicant’s and respondent’s employer settled the claim with the applicant in a private and confidential settlement which was not disclosed to the Court.
It is important that employers remain vigilant in providing their staff with a safe and secure working environment, and monitor the conduct of contractors as well as employees, and to ensure that they have effective anti-sexual harassment and bullying programs in place which are enforced. This would necessarily include promoting a culture in the workplace that does not tolerate sexual harassment, providing education to employees and contractors as to appropriate behaviour in the workplace and properly investigating and acting upon complaints and allegations should they arise.
Affinity Lawyers can provide you with tailored advice specific to your circumstances, and should you wish to discuss any employment matters, please contact one of our employment law specialists on 5563 8970 to arrange an initial consultation, which is free of charge.