Visit project website http://www.sexualharassmentinaustralia.org/
Grant: Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP1093442)
Chief Investigators: Professor Paula McDonald (Business School, Queensland University of Technology) and Associate Professor Sara Charlesworth (Centre for Work + Life, University of South Australia)
Despite legal prohibition, sexual harassment is a persistent workplace issue with considerable costs for individuals and organisations. Yet there remain significant gaps in knowledge about effective prevention and responses to the problem. This research project draws on a multi-method approach to investigate the various manifestations of sexual harassment across a range of workplaces contexts. It also examines organisational and institutional understandings and responses to workplace sexual harassment and the longer term impacts for individual 'targets'.
Specifically, the project aims to:
1. Better understand the contexts and the factors that shape individual and organisational understandings of sexual harassment as a workplace issue
2. Assess the impact of the legal prohibition of workplace sexual harassment on the patterns of conduct which occur and the range of organisational responses to the problem
3. Identify the impact of sexual harassment on those exposed to it, including their experiences and responses and longer term employment and wellbeing outcomes 4. Contribute to improved policy and practice to prevent and respond to sexual harassment, by workplaces and human rights and other bodies.
A comprehensive analysis is currently being undertaken of a range of data sources. These include interviews with 'targets' of sexual harassment, interviews with professionals who advocate for sexual harassment complainants and/or respondents, formal complaints made to equal opportunity / anti-discrimination commissions across Australia, media reports of sexual harassment and legal cases.
The report: Formal Complaints of Workplace Sexual Harassment Lodged with Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissions 1 July 2009 - 31 December 2009 <2MB> has recently been released. News release
Presentations at the 'Workplace Sexual Harassment: Just 'Bad Apples' or a Symptom of Gender Inequality', Symposium, Brisbane, 17 April 2012, Seeking Redress: Sexual harassment complaints made to Australian Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commissions' ; ' Workplace Sexual Harassment: Policing the Gender Borders '
As part of the larger study, complaint file data were collected from the Commissions (listed below) in order to provide a census of formal complaints of sexual harassment lodged in the area of employment in the six month period from 1 July 2009.
Australian Human Rights Commission; Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland; Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission; Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales; Equal Opportunity Commission of South Australia; Australian Capital Territory Human Rights Commission; Equal Opportunity Commission Western Australia; Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission; and, Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner (Tasmania).