Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Published on: Mar 20 2019

In 2018 the Australian Human Rights Commission released shocking statistics about the prevalence of sexual harassment in workplaces across the country.

The SDA, the union for workers in retail, fast food and warehousing is working with the Human Rights Commission to address the impact sexual harassment has on workers.

The survey found:

  • 33% had experienced sexual harassment in the last five years.
  • 30% of retail and fast food workers surveyed have been sexually harassed by a customer.

The retail and fast food industries are ranked with some of the highest prevalence of sexual harassment experienced by workers:

  • Retail ranked 4th – 42% experienced sexual harassment
  • Fast food ranked 7th –  39% had experienced sexual harassment
  • Warehousing ranked 14th – 24% experienced sexual harassment

While there are sex discrimination laws in place in Australia, it is clear that they are failing to protect workers and stop sexual harassment from occurring.

That’s why we are partnering with the Australian Human Right Commission to conduct a more in-depth survey of SDA members about the sexual harassment they have experienced at work.

Sharing your experience will help us to develop a better understanding of the nature and extent of sexual harassment in your industry.

The information provided by the survey responses will provide critical information to the Australian Human Rights Commission while it conducts its national inquiry into sexual harassment in workplaces. It will also be critical in discussions the SDA has with employers and industry representatives about what actions the SDA need to be take to eliminate sexual harassment in workplaces.

If you are contacted about the sexual harassment survey, please take the time to fill it out. Your feedback is a step toward eliminating sexual harassment towards retail, fast food and warehouse workers.

 

Real stories from fast food workers:

“A guy was rubbing himself down there while I was serving him.”
“Old men winking and saying rude sexual comments.”
“A customer said oh, you’re the area manager? I’d let you manage my area”.
“Customers will speak to the girls inappropriately, asking for their numbers when they’re clearly underage.”
“On at least 3 occasions, a trucker I see on a regular basis, has told me he wants me in response to me asking him if he wanted anything else with his meal.”
“Constantly hitting on me to get me to go out with them and telling me how age doesn’t matter.”
“Passing the cash change through the window he took my hand and was rubbing up and down my hand saying how nice I felt under his fingertips. Also, have had an old man ask to take me home with his fries.”
“Inappropriate comments and wouldn’t take no for an answer…. followed me outside when I was on break and wouldn’t leave me alone. Tried kissing me.”
“Making comments like “I love it when a girl gives it a good twist” and inappropriate nicknames such as babe, darling, and sweetie, particularly from older, middle aged men. For context, I experienced this as a 16-17-year-old.”


If you need help with workplace sexual harassment, call the office on 1300 732 4357. If you need immediate professional help, please see below for a list of helpful resources:

Lifeline
Ph: 13 11 14
Website: www.lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue
Ph: 1300 22 4636
Website: www.beyondblue.org.au

Kids Helpline
Ph: 1800 55 1800
Website: www.kidshelpline.com.au

The National Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Counselling Service
Ph: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
Website: www.1800respect.org.au

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