The case of Richardson v Oracle Australia demonstrates that courts now award significantly higher amounts for damages for sexual harassment and discrimination cases than ever previously recorded.

General damages compensate for hurt, humiliation and distress suffered by the victims of discrimination or sexual harassment.

Ms Richardson alleged that she was the victim of eleven incidents of sexual harassment by a co-worker. She sought compensation for economic loss and hurt, humiliation and distress.

The Federal Court found that Ms Richardson’s employer was vicariously liable for the conduct of her co-worker. The court awarded Ms Richardson $18,000 for her pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

However, on appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia, the damages payable to Ms Richardson were increased to $100,000.

It is estimated that Oracle Australia’s total costs in this case exceeded $200,000 with legal and supporting costs taken into consideration.

Similar scenarios are playing out across Australia and are expected to rise with the roll out of new Respect at Work legislation. Get in touch to find out how we can help protect your business during these ever-changing times.