Discriminatory harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that can have a detrimental impact on employees, their colleagues, and the overall productivity and culture of an organisation.

Examples of discriminatory harassment can include, but are not limited to:

  • Verbal or physical abuse directed at an individual based on their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
  • Offensive jokes or comments related to an individual’s protected attribute.
  • Displaying discriminatory or offensive material in the workplace, such as racist or sexist posters or cartoons.
  • Threatening or intimidating behaviour directed at an individual based on their protected attribute.
  • Denying an individual opportunities or promotions because of their protected attribute.

It’s important to note that discriminatory harassment can occur between any members of a workplace, including managers, supervisors and subordinates, co-workers, and even customers or clients. 

It’s also important to note that harassment can occur in various forms, and it’s not always obvious. It can be subtle, such as spreading rumours or gossip, excluding someone from social events, or giving someone the “silent treatment”.

To prevent discriminatory harassment in the workplace, employers need to have clear policies in place that prohibit such behaviour and establish a process for reporting and addressing complaints. Employers should also provide regular training to all employees on what constitutes discriminatory harassment and the importance of creating a respectful and inclusive work environment.

Employees who believe they have been the victim of discriminatory harassment should speak with their manager, supervisor or human resources representative as soon as possible. They also have the right to file a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Discriminatory harassment can have a severe impact on an individual’s mental and physical well-being, as well as their ability to perform their job effectively. It’s the responsibility of all members of a workplace to create and maintain a respectful and inclusive environment free from discrimination and harassment.