SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Eva posts a photograph of herself dancing at a party on her social media profile. Her boss leaves a comment on the picture: "Looking good gorgeous! lucky me having such a sexy PA! can’t wait to see more..... at the staff party????”

This is sexual harassment, and sexual harassment at work is against the law. 

When is it sexual harassment?

Research shows that one in five women experience workplace sexual harassment in their lifetime.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature, and it can be physical, spoken or written. It’s when someone does something that makes you feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment can include:

  • comments about your private life or the way you look
  • suggestive behaviour, like leering and staring
  • brushing up against you, touching, fondling or hugging
  • suggestive comments or jokes
  • displaying offensive screen savers, photos, calendars or other objects
  • someone continually asking you to go out with them
  • being hassled for sex
  • sexually explicit emails, text messages or posts on social networking sites.

When isn’t it sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment has nothing to do with genuinely mutual attraction or private, consenting friendships, sexual or otherwise.

What does the law say about sexual harassment?

The law protects all types of workers from sexual harassment – from full-time, part-time, casual and temporary workers, to trainees, apprentices or those on probation. Volunteers are also protected.

Sexual harassment can involve employees, managers, contractors, agents, clients, customers and other people visiting your workplace.

Sexual harassment can happen:

  • at work
  • at work-related events
  • between people sharing the same workplace
  • between work colleagues outside the workplace.

Some types of sexual harassment can also be a criminal offence. These include indecent exposure, stalking and sexual assault, as well as obscene or threatening phone calls, letters, emails, text messages and posts on social networking sites.

Resources

Download free resources about sexual harassment from the Commission, or visit our webpage about sexual harassment in the workplace for more information.

  • A3 poster - If you're wondering whether it's sexual harassment, it probably is. Contact the Commission's This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for postcards
  • Brochure - Know your rights: Sex discrimination and sexual harassment

Contact us

If you want to find out more about sexual harassment Contact us