Workers who experience workplace violence and workers facing potentially dangerous work situations have occupational health and safety rights.
When a worker receives treatment or counselling in relation to workplace violence, or attends a training program arranged by the employer, the employer must consider that as time at work and ensure that the worker does not lose any pay or benefits as a result.
Workers in federally regulated workplaces are also entitled to refuse work that puts them or another employee in danger and the right to have the situation investigated if the employer does not think the work is dangerous.
Workers who reasonably believe that their work task poses an unusually dangerous threat to their health and safety, or the health and safety of others, can refuse that work until sufficient steps have been taken to remedy the situation. In some cases, threats of violence might create such a danger. In other situations, the violence prevention policy and procedures in place may adequately address the matter.
Workers can continue to refuse unusually dangerous work until the matter has been resolved or an Occupational Health Committee has investigated and directed the worker to return to work. If, however, a worker is not satisfied with the decision of the occupational health committee, or if there is no such committee at the workplace, a worker can request that an Occupational Health Officer investigate. In these cases, workers can continue to refuse dangerous work until the occupational health officer decides otherwise. Employers may be ordered to take whatever action is required to fix the situation.
This leave is available to workers whether or not the sexual violence was workplace-related.
Victims of sexual violence are entitled to up to 10 days leave from work to seek or obtain things like medical attention, counselling, assistance from police services or lawyer, or a new place to stay. The employee is entitled to receive 5 of those days as paid leave, and the additional 5 days as unpaid leave. Employers must keep information related to leave taken by an employee confidential unless they have the consent of the employee or are required to by law.
This site provides general information about workplace sexual harassment only. It is not a substitute for receiving legal advice about your situation. Apply now to receive 4 hours of free legal advice.