iHR Australia Poll: What sort of support should an employer provide?

Sexual Harassment

Previous Poll Analysis

In our poll on 6 June, we asked respondents:

If an individual raises an allegation of sexual harassment in the workplace, but requests confidentiality and no action be taken, what should the manager do?


The results were as follows:

Respect the individual’s wishes and make a note of the alleged incident, but take no further action: 6%

Discuss the matter with a more senior manager or HR professional from the workplace, despite the request for confidentiality: 52%

Make a note of the matter and be more observant of future interactions between the two people concerned: 21%

Immediately raise concerns with the alleged and complete an incident report, despite the individuals request no action be taken: 8%

Other: 13%


More than half of respondents believe that despite the request for confidentiality, the manager should bring the matter up with a more senior person or HR representative from their workplace.

Whilst confidentiality should always be respected, it is our view that where there is potential risk to individuals, it is appropriate that managers seek advice on the next steps of the process.

Around one fifth of respondents suggested that the manager should take a more passive approach, while still acknowledging the allegations and be mindful of the potential that inappropriate behaviour may continue.

Balancing personal confidentiality and professional responsibilities can be tricky, however it poses an enormous risk to both the organisation and individuals to do nothing with potential legal consequences.

Some respondents also presented interestingly “Other” ideas with more than one suggesting that the manager should encourage the employee to take action as it could become a OHS risk for the wider workplace, and that action should be taken to ensure the complainant isn’t victimised.

It was also suggested that it is the Manager ‘s obligation to both the employee and all staff to take some form of action, and that providing training on sexual harassment was recommended.