What Is Victimisation?

Victimisation is taking action, or threatening to take action, which punishes a person because they have:

  • made, or proposed to make, a complaint of discrimination or harassment; assisted another person in making a complaint; or
  • refused to do something because they considered it to be an act of victimisation.

Examples Of Victimisation

Examples of behaviour that could be regarded as victimisation include:

  • excluding a colleague from the workplace because they assisted another person in making a complaint
  • demoting or threatening to demote an employee because they have made or propose to make a complaint of sexual harassment
  • altering an employee’s duties or responsibilities without consulting the employee because they made a complaint
  • denying an employee a promotion because they alleged that someone in the workplace sexually harassed them
  • reducing or threatening to reduce an employee’s work hours because they made a complaint
  • dismissing or threatening to dismiss an employee because they made a complaint.

Victimisation And the Law

Victimisation is a serious issue and will not be tolerated by organisations that have a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace culture. If an employee, contractor or volunteer has acted or threatened to take action that punishes a person because they have made, or propose to make, a complaint of discrimination or harassment or refused to do something because they consider it be an act of victimisation, it may be treated as misconduct, and in very serious cases, acts of victimisation can be considered a criminal offence. Laws protect the rights of individuals to ensure a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace. Victimised behaviour will lead to potential disciplinary action being taken, up to and including termination of employment. These laws apply to all workplaces in Australia, regardless of their size. They protect employees, contractors, volunteers, customers, and visitors.

The Duty of a Supervisor and Manager to Eliminate Victimisation in The Workplace

It is the responsibility of every person to act professionally and create a workplace that does not tolerate victimisation.

Employers will be vicariously liable for acts of victimisation carried out by their workers or agents unless they can show that they have taken reasonable precautions to prevent the conduct from occurring and have responded appropriately to resolve incidents of victimisation.

As a supervisor or manager, you also have a duty to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate victimisation from occurring as far as possible. This is a requirement by law and will enable a workplace that is safe, inclusive and respectful.

Like To Learn More?

To find out more about the responsibilities of a supervisor and manager when it comes to preventing and responding to victimisation in the workplace, please refer to the Sentrient series of online compliance courses for supervisors and managers.

To Get a Free Demonstration of The Supervisors and Managers Suite of Online Compliance Courses, please get in touch with Us Today!