First FWC decision in its new 'stop sexual-harassment' jurisdiction

By Muirgen O'Seighin, Andrew Wydmanski
Employment & Safety

In brief 3 min read

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has issued its first decision in the anti-sexual-harassment jurisdiction that was introduced last year. The FWC dismissed the application after finding that the parties no longer worked in the same location and there was therefore no risk of interaction that could give rise to bullying or sexual harassment in the future.

Key takeaways 

  • The FWC's new anti-sexual harassment jurisdiction commenced on 11 September 2021, as part of the Respect@Work legislative reforms. We expect further decisions in this area throughout the year. More information on the Respect@Work legislative reforms can be found here.
  • This outcome is a reminder that the objective of the anti-bullying and anti-sexual-harassment regime is to prevent future harm, not to address past wrongdoing that has ceased. The FWC can exercise its discretion to dismiss applications where it is satisfied that there is no risk of bullying or sexual harassment occurring again.


The Applicant was referred to as 'THDL' by the FWC to preserve their anonymity.

THDL made an application to the FWC for a stop bullying and sexual harassment order against two people employed in businesses neighbouring THDL's previous place of work.

The FWC dismissed the application after finding that THDL's business had moved out of the warehouse complex where the parties named in the application were employed. The FWC considered that there was no likelihood that the parties would interact in the future while at work and therefore no risk of future bullying or sexual harassment in the workplace.

On this basis, the FWC used its discretion to dismiss the application.