By Joanna Weekes
If one of your workers believes they have been discriminated against or sexually harassed, they have a right to make a complaint – whether that be internally or with an external organisation.
If this occurs, as an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure that the worker is not treated unfavourably due to the fact that they have made a complaint (or supported another person who has made a complaint).
Victimisation in the workplace can have a negative impact on your workers’ health and safety – so be aware that it can occur and make an effort to promote a workplace culture where victimisation is not facilitated.
What is victimisation?
Victimisation occurs when a person treats a worker unfairly due to the worker having made a workplace complaint, e.g. of sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination, etc.
Victimisation is conduct that results in the worker suffering a detriment. A person will subject another person to a detriment if they engage in conduct that makes the worker feel:
- Intimidated; or
Victimisation in the workplace can include behaviour such as:
- Bullying a co-worker;
- Changing a worker’s employment conditions to their disadvantage;
- Giving a worker a formal warning;
- Denying a worker a promotion; and
- Terminating a worker’s employment.
As a leader in your workplace, it is your responsibility to promote a culture where victimisation is not acceptable, and workers who make complaints based on genuine workplace grievances can do so safe in the knowledge that they will not be disadvantaged for doing so.
If you do not protect your workers, you may be liable for any illness or injury caused to them due to them having suffered from victimisation in your workplace.