Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that happens in circumstances that might humiliate, offend or intimidate the person being harassed. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome touching, sexual comments, requests or demands for sexual favours, intrusive questions about a person’s body or private life, showing a person sexually explicit content including by email and text message, and sexual assault.

In Queensland sexual harassment is unlawful everywhere including at work, but also at school, on the street, in shops and bars.

If a person who engages in sexual harassment is at work when they do it, their employer might also be responsible for the worker’s misbehaviour – unless the employer took reasonable steps to prevent it.


Discrimination happens when a person, or a group of people, is treated less favourably than another person or group because of a personal characteristic that is protected by law such as age, sex, gender identity, race or disability. Discrimination also occurs when there is an unreasonable term (e.g. a rule or a policy) that is the same for everyone but has an unfair effect on people who share a certain personal characteristic that is protected by law.

Legal Advice and Social Supports

Caxton Legal Centre provides free legal advice, representation and social supports to some people who have experienced sexual harassment or discrimination. We have a specific service that assists people who experience sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. We also help in a wide variety of other contexts including people who have experienced discrimination and sexual harassment at school, in accommodation, when buying goods and services, and in any interactions with a government service such as police.

We are able to provide free legal advice, and sometimes additional help, to people who have been accused of wrongdoing by their employer and need help to respond to the accusations or to deal with other negative actions taken as a result (i.e. dismissal) including if the accusation relates to sexual harassment, discrimination or bullying.

It is helpful to get advice as soon as possible if you have experienced sexual harassment or discrimination. There are many different avenues to make a complaint or lodge a legal claim, and it is important to think through the options carefully before taking action.

What we cannot help with

Often sexual harassment and discrimination lead to serious injuries, especially in the workplace, including psychological injuries. We do not assist with personal injury or workers compensation law, and will refer you to a specialist personal injury lawyer if we think you need that advice and assistance. 

We also do not generally give advice to employers against employees, traders against consumers or in any other business matter, and landlords/agents against tenants in a tenancy dispute. HOWEVER, if you have been sexually harassed in any of these contexts, and you are otherwise eligible for our assistance, we may be able to make an exception for you.

Other avenues of help

If you have experienced sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace you may also seek assistance from:

You could also seek help by going to your local community legal centre, Legal Aid Queensland or by speaking to a private lawyer.

Further information about sexual harassment and discrimination can be found at:

Information about the formal complaint options can be found at:

More information about the legal processes beyond the initial complaints process is available from the: