Sexual harassment a repeated behaviour in most workplace investigations

sexual harassment investigation

Investigation Report Key Statistics: Edition 6

As leaders in workplace investigations, iHR Australia conduct a large number of independent investigations for a wide range of organisations across the country. Based on our findings we have compiled a collection of statistics to track trends in the workplace. These key statistics provide valuable insights into areas of concern that can influence your business.

iHR Australia’s Workplace Training Facilitator, Natasha Facci, provides some insight into commonly repeated sexual harassment behaviours and how to manage these ongoing incidents.

What are some examples of commonly repeated sexual harassment behaviour?

  • Staring, leering or unwelcome touching (e.g. arm around waist)
  • Suggestive comments or jokes
  • Unwanted invitations to go out on dates
  • Intrusive questions about a person’s private life or body (e.g. do you have dates organised for when lockdown is over?)
  • Communicating content of a sexual nature through social media or text messages.

These comments can be made in 1*1 meetings or in open forums.

Apart from reporting the incident, what else can a staff member do if they are experiencing repeated sexual harassment behaviour?

  • If they feel comfortable they can approach the person using a feedback model (SIA) themselves and explain they are uncomfortable
  • They can call it out in the moment e.g. I don’t feel comfortable answering that or I don’t appreciate that comment or that comment is below the line or please stop etc.

What supports can a manager put into place if they are made aware of repeated sexual harassment behaviour?

If a discussion with the offender (what needs to change) and target (are they okay) has not stopped the repeated sexual harassment then we suggest reporting the incident to HR or an external provider (if you don’t have HR) for support and to undertake an investigation.

This may result in:

  • A formal investigation that may lead to disciplinary action
  • Arranging a coach to help the offender understand the impact of their actions
  • Move the target or offender out of the team
  • Discussion on the organisation’s Sexual Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination policy with their team
  • Run Workplace Sexual Harassment training