Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment does not only occur in the workplace, but also happens at social gatherings and in public areas such as at bus stops, in the street and in clubs. The offence occurs when a person assaults another in a manner which grossly offends public morality e.g. touching breasts or other parts of the body, unwelcome kissing, etc. Actual touching may not be involved. Rude or suggestive language can also be considered sexual harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace happens to men as well as women. It is a criminal offence for an employer to seek any form of sexual favour as a condition for hiring a person. It is also an offence to threaten dismissal if the sexual favour is not granted. The law works both ways – it is an offence to offer sexual inducement in return for benefit at work.   Sexual harassment also occurs in schools and colleges. Everybody has a right to feel safe and comfortable in the workplace and at school.   Anyone experiencing sexual harassment can:

  • Firmly tell the harasser that the behaviour is not acceptable
  • Report the incident to someone in authority
  • Report the matter to the police

Sexual Harassment Indicators

 

The following are some examples of sexual harassment:
  • Spreading sexual rumours
  • Repeatedly asking out someone who has said no
  • Questioning or commenting on someone’s sexuality
  • Telling sexually offensive jokes
  • Displaying sexual pictures
  • Making comments about someone’s clothing or body
  • Making rude gestures or noises
  • Touching or rubbing against a person
  • Pressuring someone for a date
  • Giving suggestive looks
Anyone who is sexually harassed may experience:
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Humiliation
  • Embarrassment
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety depression
  • Inability to trust people
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • A change in sleeping or eating habits
  • Withdrawal from others