Harassment includes any unwelcome behaviour that offends, humiliates or intimidates a person. Generally, unlawful harassment occurs when someone is subjected to prohibited behaviour under anti-discrimination legislation. Harassment can involve physical conduct, verbal conduct or visual conduct (e.g. in the form of posters, email, or SMS messages).
In Australia, sexual harassment is a legally recognised form of sex discrimination and includes any form of sexually related behaviour that is unwelcome and that offends, humiliates or intimidates a person in circumstances where a reasonable person would have anticipated that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.
Unlawful sexual harassment can be a one-off incident or repeated/continuous. The Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984 makes sexual harassment unlawful in a wide range of areas that could apply to incorporated associations. The Australian Human Rights Commission has published Sexual Harassment: A Code of Practice to assist employers to understand their responsibilities under the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984.
Racial harassment generally includes racially‑based threats, taunts, abuse or insults that disadvantage another person in their workplace or other area covered by anti‑discrimination laws. For example, racist jokes, racist graffiti and name-calling. In certain circumstances, aspects of racial harassment can constitute a criminal offence.
The Western Australian Criminal Code makes aspects of racial harassment, and incitement to racial hatred criminal offences punishable by substantial jail terms.
Under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992, disability harassment is unlawful in employment, education and provision of goods and services. In some circumstances, disability harassment may be unlawful disability discrimination.