Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Who to tell and what to do if it happens to you?
Sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated, including unwanted comments or suggestions of a sexual nature to another person and/or inappropriate touching of another person.
Mutual interaction between people who are friends in the workplace is not sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment at work is against the law. It is also a criminal offense. Sexual harassment can be committed by an employer, workmate, manager, a junior colleague or other people in a working relationship with you. It can be verbal, physical or psychological. It can be in the form of an inducement for better working conditions or that job promotion you really want.
If it happens to you, you should tell the offender that the behaviour is unacceptable, and that they should stop immediately. You should then let someone in charge know what has happened, when it occurred and the names of anyone who witnessed the incident.
Your workplace should have policies and procedures in place to help you to deal with the situation, however if you feel your case isn’t being dealt with properly, you can lodge a complaint with thepolice station in your region.
You have the right to make a complaint. If you make a complaint about sexual harassment and, as a result, your employer takes adverse action against you (for example, by reducing your hours or dismissing you), you can take legal action against the employer.
It is your employer’s duty to provide you with a space that is free from sexual harassment. It is also your employer’s duty to keep all sexual harassment complaints confidential.
FYI – If you don’t report it to your employer, no-one will know – tell someone. All sexual harassment involving physical contact can be reported to Police immediately. If you are experiencing any forms of harassment you should speak to your employer’s human resource department.