Employees may receive support from their works council or trade union, the Austrian Chamber of Labour, or the Ombudsman for Equal Treatment (“Gleichbehandlungsanwaltschaft”). All the bodies mentioned can initiate legal proceedings at the Equal Treatment Commission (“Gleichbehandlungskommission”). Additionally, the employee can claim compensation in front of labour courts.
The employee is entitled to a minimum compensation of EUR 1,000.00 for the personal detriment suffered. Moreover, any other financial loss must be compensated.
According to Section 13 of the General Equal Treatment Act, employees have the right to lodge a complaint to the competent authority of the company if they feel they have been sexually harassed. According to Section 16 of the General Equal Treatment Act, the employee may not be disadvantaged in this regard. In addition, under section 14 of the General Equal Treatment Act, the employee affected by sexual harassment has the right to refuse to work without loss of pay if the employer does not take any measures, or takes obviously inappropriate measures, to end the sexual harassment at the workplace.
Under section 15 (1) of the General Equal Treatment Act an individual that has suffered harassment in the workplace has a right to make a claim for damages (material harm, i.e. loss of earnings) and compensation (non-material harm, injury to feelings) against the employer and against the individual employee who has harassed them. The employer is only liable for harassment of his employees or third parties if he is at fault. This is not usually the case when harassment first occurs. However, in case of reoccurrence, the employer is liable, if they failed to take appropriate measures to protect the harassed individual against sexual harassment. The fault of the employer is presumed in section 15 of the General Equal Treatment Act.
If the employer is at fault, a contractual claim for damages against the employer may also be considered.
If the harassment injures the person concerned in his or her health or general personal rights, the injured person can claim damages and failure from the harasser according to the Civil Code.