A volunteer complained about a suggestive comment made on her Facebook page by another volunteer. Is that sexual harassment?

It may be sexual harassment if it occurs in the course of the volunteering relationship – for example, if it happened between two people who work for the same organisation.

Comments don’t need to be made face-to-face to form sexual harassment. Various forms of electronic communication – such as smart phones, instant messaging and social networking websites – are creating new environments where sexual harassment can take place.

Sexual harassment involves behaviour that could reasonably be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. This can include sexually explicit emails, text messages or comments on social networking sites. To help ensure good practice, organisations should make sure they have a sexual harassment policy, that it covers this aspect of life, and that both staff and volunteers are aware of it.

If you need more information, please contact the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
Enquiry Line: 1300 292 153
Telephone: 1300 891 848
Fax: 1300 891 858
TTY: 1300 289 621
Email: enquiries@veohrc.vic.gov.au

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