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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The recent decision of the Full Federal Court in the appeal in Richardson –v- Oracle Corporation Australia means the potential penalties for Employers who fail to take comprehensive steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace have increased significantly. The court found that Oracle was vicariously liable for the conduct of Mr Randol Tucker in […]

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

By Aylward Game - Jul 29, 2014 Criminal Law

The recent decision of the Full Federal Court in the appeal in Richardson –v- Oracle Corporation Australia means the potential penalties for Employers who fail to take comprehensive steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace have increased significantly. The court found that Oracle was vicariously liable for the conduct of Mr Randol Tucker in sexually harassing another employee, Rebecca Richardson.

At first instance the Federal Court awarded Ms Richardson $18,000.00 in compensation for pain and suffering and rejected Ms Richardson claim for Economic Loss. Ms Richardson’s case had been that the sexual harassment had led to her resigning her position with Oracle and taking a lower paid position with another Employer, leading to Economic Loss.

The Full Court of the Federal Court in dealing with the appeal increased the damages awarded to Ms Richardson from $18,000.00 to $100,000.00. In addition the Full Court accepted Ms Richardson’s case that the Sexual Harassment had caused her to resign and take her lower paid position and consequently awarded her a further $30,000.00 in compensation for the Economic Loss that she then suffered.

Employers therefore need to ensure that they comprehensively address the issue of Sexual Harassment and its prevention in their workplace policies, procedures and training to minimise their risks of being exposed to claims, and the risk of conduct of this nature occurring at work.

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