It is imperative for all Employers to review the terms of their sexual harassment policies as a result of the recent decision of the Federal Court of Australia in Rebecca Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd [2013] FCA 102.

The Employer was held to be "vicariously liable" for the sexual harassment of its employee even though it had conducted a proper investigation and imposed a first and final warning upon the sexual harasser.  This was because the Employer's policy failed to state that sexual harassment was contrary to law, made no reference to the source of the legislative prohibition or the fact that the employer might also be vicariously liable for sexual harassment by an employee.

The omission of these, "…important and easily included aspects from Oracle's statement of its own policies…" was held to be a sufficient indication that the Employer had not taken all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment.

The sexually harassed employee was awarded $18,000 by way of damages as compensation for sexual harassment.

Employers are urged to review and update their sexual harassment policies to take account of these specific considerations.