Employers have a legal responsibility not to discriminate against employees and to take all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination, harassment, victimisation or bullying.

  • Employers may also be held ‘vicariously liable’ for the actions of their partners, colleagues, employees, agents or contract workers. Employers must also ensure that people who make a complaint, or are involved in a complaint in any way, are not victimised or treated less favourably as a result. For an employer to avoid liability for workplace harassment, discrimination or other unlawful behaviour, they need to be able to demonstrate they took ‘all reasonable steps’.
  • ‘Reasonable steps’ will vary based on the size of the organisation. It may include putting in place policies and procedures to create a discrimination-free environment. It could also include procedures to deal with allegations of discrimination and harassment made by employees or customers.

Preventing or effectively managing unlawful behaviour has other benefits.

In this section, you will find resources to help you understand your compliance responsibilities. 

Leading Practice

An organisation will have achieved excellence in its capacity to manage and prevent unlawful workplace behaviour by:

  • Ensuring the organisation is able to demonstrate it has taken all reasonable steps to prevent unlawful behaviour and manage it appropriately when it does occur
  • Having a diversity & inclusion policy and keeping it up-to-date
  • Having a grievance procedure
  • Communicating these to all staff at regular intervals and in a variety of ways
  • Educating staff on their responsibilities and rights in relation and assisting them to develop skills in managing inappropriate workplace behaviour
  • Establishing and maintaining a Contact Officer network
  • Holding managers accountable for preventing unlawful behaviour and taking early intervention when it does
  • Monitoring the workplace to ensure the culture is respectful and professional.