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Victimisation in the workplace

An employee who believes they have been discriminated against or sexually harassed has the right to make a complaint, either using the organisation’s internal complaints procedure or to an external agency such as the Commission. An employer has a responsibility to ensure that a person is not victimised, or treated unfavourably, because he or she has made a complaint or supported another person to make a complaint. 

The law

Victimisation is specifically prohibited under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 and federal anti-discrimination laws.


Victimisation means punishing or threatening to punish someone. It is against the law to punish or threaten to punish someone because they have:

  • asserted their rights under equal opportunity law
  • made a complaint
  • helped someone else make a complaint
  • refused to do something because it would be discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation.

Examples of victimisation

Victimisation in the workplace can include:

bullying and intimidation by co-workers

being denied a promotion or being moved to a position with lower responsibility 

dismissal from employment

being refused further contract work.

The legal definition of victimisation is when someone 'subjects or threatens to subject the other person to any detriment'.


If you think you have been discriminated againstsexually harassedvictimised or vilified, contact us and talk about your concerns. Our dispute resolution service is free and confidential. We can send you information about the complaint process and if we can’t help you we will try to refer you to someone who can.

To make a complaint:

Find out more about making a complaint.

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