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NSW Sexual Harassment from Co-worker - Extends Out of Workplace

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by max3369, 23 March 2015.

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  1. max3369

    max3369 Member

    4 November 2014
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    At my workplace is a homosexual barman. He has no direct authority over me (I work in the kitchen) so he's not legally a boss or anything. He has a "crush" on me and I find it extremely uncomfortable. It's also dragged on for months (since I started working there) and until recently nobody else even realised this was going on because they were all convinced he was straight (he's in a faux heterosexual relationship to get his inheritance or something, a long story, suffice to say he is actually homosexual).

    Harassment / workplace bullying includes:
    - sexual posturing at me, ie. he positions himself in my field of view all day and will waive his bottom at me etc. I find this really uncomfortable
    - will generally take any opportunity to imply that I'm a homosexual, I think because he's convinced he can 'turn me gay for him'
    - has made more than one "advance" on me even though I've plainly and politely stated I'm straight many many times
    - more than once (but infrequently) he's tried to interact with me outside of work. The guy literally dressed up as a girl and basically made out with the window of a payphone as I road home on my bike. I found this in particular really creepy.

    I know this probably sounds a bit stupid but basically its been going on for a long time and I'm well passed sick of it. I've never done anything to encourage this. My wikipedia understanding of harassment is that this has contributed to a hostile work environment and in many ways is a form of bullying especially when he has legitimately tried to convince other co-workers that I'm homosexual. Other things have done have bordered on stalking.

    He also knows a few other homosexuals in my city and I've stopped going to the local Commonwealth Bank and a cafe I used to frequent because of unwanted attention from his friends that work at these businesses. The bank in particular is worrying because his "friend" at this business has shared details of the account in which I deposit my rent, and my deposit behaviour, as if this is either interesting or worth sharing, but as far as I know this is meant to be confidential information all the same. There's no way I could get this in writing either he's simply said things to me to try and creep me out that blatantly indicate this information was shared by an employee at the bank.

    This is also difficult because he's so far avoided any direct/avert harassment. Like when he makes an "advance" its extremely indirect and its left to me to decide that it was an unwanted advance and to tell him I'm not OK with it. This makes me think that it would be pretty much impossible to take any action whatsoever against him in court. And I'm not really interested in going to court I'd just like to know my options so I can put it on the table with him and hopefully he'll start acting his age (30 - I'm 20)

    I'd rather not take action through my workplace because I'm paid off the books and the process would probably drag my boss into trouble.
  2. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

    10 February 2015
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    Hi there,

    I'm sorry to hear that you are facing this situation. It doesn't sound silly or stupid at all. In fact this kind of thing is all too common. Often it is women who face sexual harassment in the workplace which is why there are a lot of information resources aimed at women. However men also face sexual harassment and it is just as serious.

    Have you talked to your employer/ manager about this situation? I know that you don't want to 'drag your boss into trouble' but the first stage of action here is to make sure that your employer is aware of what is going on. You can talk to HR, your manager or supervisor. You need to remember that even though you aren't being paid the award wage nor super (ie your boss is breaking the law), you still have employee rights including not being harassed and bullied in your workplace.

    Have you also considered making a complaint to the commonwealth bank about the fact that you believe an employee shared your private account information and other personal information with a member of the public? I believe that the bank would take this kind of allegation very seriously so I suggest that you speak with the branch manager.

    I suggest that you do the following:
    1. Write as much information as you can remember about the incidents of harassment and sexual harassment including anything that has made you uncomfortable in and outside the workplace as well as times and dates (as far as you remember). From now on, keep a record of anything else that goes on.
    2. Organise a meeting between yourself and HR/ your manager
    3. Contact the bank and make a formal complaint to the branch manager

    In the meantime you can have a read of the information about workplace bullying and harassment on the Fair Work Australia website: Bullying and harassment – Employee entitlements – Fair Work Ombudsman

    You can also consider lodging a complaint with the Fair Work Commission: What is the process | The Fair Work Commission

    If you are unhappy with the processes and outcomes of doing the above, you can also contact a lawyer such as through Legal Aid and talk to them about further options, particularly if you are losing work time etc.

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