Our specialist employment solicitors are experienced in supporting, advising and representing employees with workplace sexual harassment claims. In addition to compensation, we can also seek apologies and undertakings to train employees.
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Are you being sexually harassed at work?
Our specialist workplace lawyers will get you the compensation you deserve. If you have been sexually harassed at work, you claim compensation for lost wages, hurt, distress, pain and suffering. We recently represented a senior executive employee who had been bullied, sexually harassed and discriminated against in the workplace. We successfully negotiated nearly two years’ salary in compensation, along with re-deployment to another branch of the company.
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Our record of success
Maurice Blackburn are Australia's leading employment law practice for employees and contractors, with an excellent record of successful cases in employment litigation. Our experienced employment lawyers are recognised for excellence in Doyle’s ‘Guide to the Australian Legal Profession’. If you need legal advice or assistance with a sexual harassment claim, we can help.
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Poniatowska v ESA
Employment Services Australia Pty Ltd v Poniatowska  FCAFC 92
The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia affirmed in Poniatowska the Federal Court’s earlier decision to award an employee $466,000 as compensation for workplace sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
The case involved Ms Poniatowska and two of her former co-workers. She alleged she was sent sexually explicit emails and text messages from Co-worker One and phone calls and pictures from Co-worker Two.
The company had no formal policy or processes in relation to workplace sexual harassment and sex discrimination. Although Ms Poniatowska reported Co-worker One’s emails and text messages to her team leader, there was no action taken by the company. She later complained to a colleague about Co-worker Two’s picture and phone calls. The Team Leader was again informed and an investigation was conducted.
In the investigation, Co-worker Two denied sending Ms Poniatowska the picture intentionally and claimed that it was sent inadvertently. The Managing Director did not investigate the matter further. The company also made no attempt to keep the complaint confidential and Ms Poniatowska’s complaint became known among her co-workers.
Following the complaints, the employer issued Ms Poniatowska a series of warning letters alleging poor performance. She was not provided with reasonable opportunity to respond and was terminated on the basis of poor performance.
As a result, Ms Poniatowska developed anxiety and depression and was unable to work. She made a claim against her employer, alleging that her termination was caused by her complaint of sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
The trial judge at first instance found that Ms Poniatowska was indeed terminated because she had complained about sexual harassment and “because she was a female who would not tolerate sexual harassment”. She was awarded $466,000 and the employer was also ordered to pay 90 per cent of Ms Poniatowska’s legal costs.
Nunan v Aaction Traffic Services
Nunan v Aaction Traffic Services Pty Ltd  QCAT 565
In this case, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) ordered that Ms Nunan be paid $102,217 as compensation for workplace sexual harassment by one former co-worker over the course of several months.
Ms Nunan and the co-worker worked together as air traffic controllers. In the course of their working relationship, Ms Nunan was subjected to behaviour of a sexual nature, including personal comments, questions, noises and gestures made by her co-worker. It was alleged that these comments were made on a daily basis and throughout their shifts together, eventually causing Ms Nunan to suffer an emotional breakdown.
QCAT determined that Ms Nunan had been sexual harassed by her co-worker, and found the employer had failed to provide adequate training for its employees in relation to the workplace policies on sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
QCAT ordered that Ms Nunan receive: $40,000 for the injury she had suffered as a result of the unlawful behaviour; $51,895 for past financial loss; $3,892 for interest; $6,430 for future financial loss. This was a total of $102,217 in compensation.