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Cafe Worker Awarded $9,000 After Sexual Harassment

Cafe worker awarded $9,000 after sexual harassment

A cafe worker has been awarded $9,000 compensation after her boss sexually harassed her and then dismissed her when she rejected his advances.

Industrial relations experts have described the case as “appalling” and believe the employer was lucky to have not been ordered to pay a whole lot more.

The details

*Kay said that just two weeks after she started working at the cafe, her boss bought her a watch for a birthday present, which she felt was inappropriate, considering that she hardly knew him.

She said the man went on to make a number of advances, including repeatedly asking her out for drinks, and touching her bottom.

During one disturbing incident, Kay was in a car with her boss picking up supplies when she said he grabbed her arm and forcibly tried to kiss her.

Adverse action

Following these incidents, Kay said her hours were cut in favour of younger staff, with the boss eventually sacking her.

Kay made a complaint to the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board alleging sexual harassment and age discrimination.

During conciliation, the employer denied any inappropriate behaviour, but did admit to buying Kay the watch for her birthday, and said the two occasionally flirted with each other.

He claimed he fired Kay because of her abrupt communication style, ill treatment of kitchen staff and unprofessional emails and messages to colleagues, and not because of her age.

In the end, the matter was settled with the employer agreeing to pay Kay $9,000 compensation.

An ‘appalling’ case

Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at Sexual Harassment Claims, said the case was appalling,

“Not only has this creep engaged in text book unlawful sexual harassment, he has then taken adverse action against the worker when she refused his advances,” he said.

“If we were representing this woman, we would have lodged multiple claims, and certainly wouldn’t have settled for the measly sum of $9,000.

“This cafe manager needs to understand that sexual harassment is unlawful, and you cannot treat your workers in such an offensive way.”

Mr Heffernan said it is difficult for many victims of sexual harassment to make a complaint.

“Especially if the perpetrator is a boss or a supervisor, it is incredibly difficult for people to speak up about sexual harassment,” he said.

“Victims are worried about what impact a complaint will have on their job or their career, but they should know, there is help available, and there are things they can do to make it stop.”

*name changed

Miles Heffernan is one of our specialist team at Sexual Harassment Claims who can assist people who have been subjected to sexual harassment or sex discrimination.


If you have experienced sexual harassment or sex discrimination, you may be entitled to compensation.

For help and advice, please call our specialist team at Sexual Harassment Claims on 

1300 463 866

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