Increase in workplace harassment cases

Reports of workplace sexual harassment have risen across Tasmania in the last five years, according to analysis by workplace diversity specialist Conrad Liveris. 

However the number of cases recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics dropped to 128 from 182 between 2014 and 2015. 

In the five years to 2015, sexual harassment matters in workplaces grew nine per cent from 118 to 128. 

Mr Liveris said increased awareness could be behind the growth in recorded cases.

“Over the period from 2011 onwards there has been a greater understanding of what these issues are,” he said.

“People are more willing to call things out at the moment.”

He said this year’s figures would indicate whether the drop in case numbers in 2015 was an anomaly.

Equal Opportunity Tasmania has received two complaints about workplace sexual harassment this financial year, compared to four last year and 13 during 2013-2014. 

Sexual harassment costs businesses and the economy $560.81 million directly and indirectly per year, Mr Liveris said.

Between 2011 and 2015 the number of sexual harassment reports rose nationally by 2,701, or 12.81 per cent, his analysis shows.

State and federal discrimination commissions have found that 70 per cent of sexual harassment occurs in workplaces, or 14,877 people in 2015, Mr Liveris said.

The number of men reporting sexual harassment has increased, but the majority of harassment involves female victims, who make 83 per cent of reports.

Safe Work Australia evidence shows that reports which reach a claim result in an average cost of $22,425.74. About 11 per cent of reports resulted in a claim last year.

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