What about where someone wears provocative or revealing clothing – aren’t they sexually harassing other staff or volunteers?

Wearing revealing or provocative clothing may not amount to sexual harassment in the absence of indecent exposure or some other form of unwanted sexual conduct. It may, however, breach an organisation’s dress code if one applies.

Organisations can set standards of dress for staff and volunteers. Standards must be reasonable and applied in a manner that does not contravene anti-discrimination legislation.

Organisations must not directly or indirectly discriminate against employees when setting dress and appearance codes. Dress codes should be sensitive to people’s sex, religion, race, disability, age, pregnancy and gender identity. For example, discriminatory dress codes include specifying that women must wear skirts or that a Sikh man cannot wear his turban at work in a restaurant.
Sexual harassment may arise if a volunteer, or a staff member, is asked to wear revealing or provocative clothing, or comments of a sexual nature are made about their appearance. Wearing revealing clothing isn’t an invitation to be sexually harassed.

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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