Physical harassment in the workplace is a form of workplace violence that can occur in any occupation and any work setting. It refers to any unwanted physical contact or behaviour that is threatening, intimidating or causes discomfort to an employee. 

Examples of physical harassment in the workplace can include but are not limited to: 

  • Assault: Intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. 
  • Battery: Intentionally and unlawfully touching someone in a rude, insulting, or angry manner. 
  • Unwanted touching or hugging: Touching an employee’s body or clothing without their consent. 
  • Physical intimidation: Making physical gestures or actions that cause fear or threaten safety. 
  • Stalking: Following an employee around or repeatedly contacting an employee in a way that causes fear or distress. 

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

To prevent physical 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 physical harassment and the importance of creating a safe and secure work environment. 

Employees who believe they have been the victim of physical 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. 

Physical harassment in the workplace can have severe physical and emotional consequences for the victims, and it’s a serious violation of an employee’s rights. It’s the responsibility of all members of a workplace to create and maintain a safe and secure environment free from physical harassment.