What is work-related gendered violence?

This guidance may help employers identify types of work-related gendered violence including sexual harassment.



Work-related gendered violence is any behaviour, directed at any person, or that affects a person, because of their sex, gender or sexual orientation, or because they do not adhere to socially prescribed gender roles, that creates a risk to health and safety.

This includes violence targeted directly at someone specifically because, for example:

  • they are a woman
  • they identify as LGBTIQA+
  • they don't follow socially prescribed gender roles and stereotypes

Work-related gendered violence can also be experienced indirectly. A person may experience gendered violence not targeted specifically at them (such as overhearing a conversation that affects them) or witness violence directed at someone else. Sexual harassment is a common form of gendered violence.

LGBTIQA+: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or asexual

Socially prescribed gender roles: society's traditional ideas about how men and women should look or act, what characteristics they should have, or their roles in the workplace, home or public life

Types of work-related gendered violence can range in severity from comments and gestures, through to sexual assault and rape. It can include:

  • stalking, intimidation or threats
  • verbal abuse
  • ostracism or exclusion
  • sexually explicit gestures
  • offensive language and imagery
  • put downs, innuendo, and insinuations
  • being undermined in your role or position
  • sexual harassment (see below)
  • sexual assault or rape

What is sexual harassment?

As outlined in Section 92(1) of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (EO Act), a person sexually harasses another person if he or she:

(a) makes an unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours, to the other person,


(b) engages in any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to the other person

in circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated that the other person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Work-related sexual harassment

Work-related sexual harassment is sexual harassment (as described above) directed at a person, that can happen at work, work related events, or between people sharing the same workplace.

Work-related sexual harassment isn't always obvious, repeated or continuous. It can be a one-off incident and can involve unwanted or unwelcome:

  • touching
  • staring or leering
  • suggestive comments or jokes
  • sexually explicit pictures or posters
  • repeated invitations to go out on dates
  • requests for sex
  • intrusive questions about a person's private life or body
  • unnecessary contact, such as deliberately brushing up against a person
  • insults or taunts based on sex or gender
  • sexually explicit physical contact
  • sexually explicit emails, text messages or social media activity

Sexual harassment is a common and known cause of physical and mental injury.

Work-related Gendered Violence campaign

Gendered violence is an OHS issue. It is unacceptable in any form.

More information and resources