In response to the Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report, the Australian Government identified the prevention of, and response to workplace sexual harassment as an urgent priority due to the widespread and pervasive nature of its occurrence in Australian workplaces.

At the end of 2023, the Workplace Respect Project made data requests to national and state-based agencies that receive complaints or reports about workplace sexual harassment in Western Australia.

There are many limitations to exploring administrative data and it is important to be cautious particularly when looking at data from a range of agencies that are all collecting data for different purposes. Even so, bringing this data together contributes to gaining some high-level visibility of the number of reports made through external complaints pathways, and, where possible, demographics of complainants. The report also looks at data on outcomes achieved, if provided by agencies.

Some key findings of the snapshot include that most workers who reported sexual harassment in Western Australia from 2021 – 2023 were female, younger than 35 years old and from the Perth metropolitan area. WorkSafe Mines received the highest number of reports of sexual harassment – which could be due to the influence of the Enough is Enough Report, the nature of the reporting process, or a general emphasis on health and safety regulations in the mining industry.

In terms of complaint pathways where personal remedy can be sought, the Equal Opportunity Commission (WA) received more complaints from 2021 – 2023 than the Australian Human Rights Commission, despite the Equal Opportunity Act’s definition of sexual harassment which contains an additional standard, requiring that “the harassed person must have reasonable grounds to believe that if they reject the advance, refuse the request or object to the conduct, they will be disadvantaged or are in fact disadvantaged”.

To view the administrative data provided by external reporting and complaints agencies and the Workplace Respect Project’s findings in further detail, download the full report.


Disclaimer: Please be aware that this resource provides general information only. It is not legal advice. If you have a question about how the law applies to your specific situation, you can click here to request free legal assistance.