Sexual Harassment in the Victorian Public Service

Tabled: 28 November 2019

Appendix B. Key legislative requirements and guidance material

Figure B1
Key legislative requirements and guidance material


Requirements / Guidance

Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic)

Mandatory compliance

Defines sexual harassment as an unwelcome sexual advance, an unwelcome request for sexual favours, or any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in which a reasonable person would anticipate that this behaviour would offend, humiliate or intimidate. This legislation places a positive obligation on organisations to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment, or victimisation as far as possible.

It also provides that employers can be vicariously liable for breaches of the Act, including sexual harassment, by persons that they employ. An exception to this is when an employer can demonstrate that they have taken reasonable precautions to prevent the behaviour.

Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth)

Mandatory compliance

Provides that a person sexually harasses another person if they engage in unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in circumstances where a reasonable person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Crimes Act 1958 (Victoria)

Mandatory compliance

Outlines offences—including indecent exposure, stalking, sexual assault, assault, obscene or threatening communications—that may also be sexual harassment.

Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Victoria)

Mandatory compliance

Requires employers to provide and maintain a safe working environment as far as reasonably practical.

Public Administration Act 2004 (Victoria)

Mandatory compliance

Requires employees to conduct themselves in a manner which is consistent with the public sector values and employment principles set out in this legislation.

Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees

Mandatory compliance

Outlines public sector values that Victorian public service employees are required to demonstrate. Breaches of the code of conduct may be misconduct and can result in disciplinary action.

Sexual Harassment Model Policy (VPSC)

Better practice

Promotes consistent practice in prevention and response to sexual harassment.

Guide for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (VPSC)

Better practice

Assists organisations to promote appropriate workplace behaviour and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

Source: VAGO

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