How to know if you are being sexually harassed at work

by The Listener / 23 April, 2018
Illustration/Getty Images

Illustration/Getty Images

RelatedArticlesModule - How to know sexual harassment at work

The Employment Relations Act is very clear about what constitutes sexual harassment in New Zealand.

Under the Employment Relations Act, an employee is sexually harassed if their employer (or a representative of their employer):

Asks the employee for sex, sexual contact or other sexual activity, with a:

  • promise (it can be implied) of better treatment in their employment, or
  • threat (it can be implied) either of worse treatment or about current or future job security.

Subjects (either directly or indirectly) the employee to behaviour that they don’t want or is offensive to them (even if they don’t let the employer or the employer’s representative know this) and which either is so significant or repeated that it has a negative effect on their employment, job performance or job satisfaction:

  • By using (in writing or speaking) sexual language, or
  • By using sexual visual material (pictures, diagrams, photos, videos, etc), or
  • Through sexual physical behaviour.

Examples of sexual harassment:

  • Personally sexually offensive comments
  • Sexual or smutty jokes
  • Unwanted comments or teasing about a person’s sexual activities or private life
  • Offensive hand or body gestures
  • Physical contact such as patting, pinching or touching
  • Provocative posters with a sexual connotation
  • Persistent and unwelcome social invitations (or telephone calls or emails) from workmates at work or at home
  • Hints or promises of preferential treatment in exchange for sex
  • Threats of differential treatment if sexual activity is not offered
  • Sexual assault and rape.

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

This article was first published in the April 14, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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