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Sexual Harassment

ILO: International Click to edit Master subtitle style perspective on definition, scope, attitudes and effects
20 April 2005 20 April 2005 ILO Geneva, Katerine Landuyt ILO Geneva, Katerine Landuyt

Sexual harassment at work


Widespread recognition: Sexual harassment = obstacle to equality of opportunity and treatment between women and men workers. Sexual harassment at work: violation of human and workers rights form of violence occupational safety and health risk unacceptable working condition form of gender discrimination
20 April 2005 Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Understanding sexual harassment

It is not friendly and mutually

welcome behavior, It is unwelcome and unwanted conduct

Perceived provocation does not justify it Determining factor:


Reaction of the victim Not intent of the conduct

Silence or lack of complaints does not

mean sexual harassment does not occur


Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

20 April 2005

Sexual Harassment is:

Not about sex About power

BUT

20 April 2005

Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Defining sexual harassment: Key elements

Conduct/action of a sexual nature, (or other conduct based on sex,) affecting the dignity of women and men, which is Unwanted, unwelcome or offensive;

20 April 2005

Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Defining sexual harassment Key elements two types included in definition: Quid pro Quo (this for that or sexual blackmail) Hostile work environment From a reasonable victim point of view Repeated or single incident

20 April 2005

Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Why does someone sexually harass other persons:

To exercise power or authority

To denigrate or to make someone feel unwanted or ridiculous Because of ignorance, due to lack of understanding on how the behavior makes the recipient feel.
20 April 2005 Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Types of sexual harassment


Physical unwelcome contact:
Repeatedly squeezing a workers shoulder and putting a hand around her or his waist Rubbing or brushing against ones breast or behind Exposing of body parts Superfluous attention Forced to have unwanted sex (physical assault and rape)
Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

20 April 2005

Verbal:

Repeated inappropriate remarks about a persons body parts or looks Comments or conversations with sexual innuendo Obscene jokes of sexual nature Questionable unwelcome compliments or endearments that make the recipient uncomfortable
20 April 2005 Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Non-verbal:
Leering

and sexually suggestive

gesturing Displaying of pornographic or sexual suggestive pictures of men women

and

20 April 2005

Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Extent of sexual harassment


Victims mostly women Incidence higher than expected Reported cases: tip of the iceberg Linked to weak position of women in the labour market
20 April 2005 Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Extent of sexual harassment


Greater incidence among women who are vulnerable: young, single, widowed, divorced under precarious employment contracts migrants, domestic workers in individualized positions sex-segregation in maleor female-dominated occupations and industries.
20 April 2005 Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Effects of Sexual Harassment


Victims Psychological Suffering Humiliation Feelings of betrayal Depression Low self-esteem Powerlessness
20 April 2005 Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Effects of Sexual Harassment


Victims Physiological Suffering Headaches High blood pressure Sleep disturbances Gastrointestinal diseases SuicideLanduyt, NORMES, Katerine

20 April 2005

Effects of Sexual Harassment


Victims Professional losses
Loss of job motivation and satisfaction Missing out on training or promotion Resignation or dismissal
20 April 2005 Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Effects of Sexual Harassment on:


Enterprises:
v Lower productivity because of:

Society:

v Hinders the achievement of equality Absenteeism v Condones sexual violence Loss of valued v Hinders productivity and employees development Turnover of staff v Danger of transmission Workplace tension of HIV/AIDS virus

v Cost in terms of payment of damages or fines v Poor image of company


20 April 2005 Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Click to edit Master subtitle style

ILO: International overview of legal measures, policies and implementation mechanisms

20 April 2005 20 April 2005

ILO Geneva, Katerine Landuyt ILO Geneva, Katerine Landuyt

National Law Coverage of Sexual Harassment


Acts on sexual harassment Equality or Non-discrimination Acts Labour Law (Labour Codes, Termination of Employment Acts and good industrial relations practices) Criminal Law Personal Injury (Tort) Law Breach of Contract Judicial decision-making

20 April 2005

Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Elements in Law
Nationally accepted definition of sexual harassment (including unwelcome nature of the conduct): Prohibition of sexual harassment: quid pro quo (this for that) hostile work environment Prevention of sexual harassment by requiring employer to take action (e.g. adoption of sexual harassment policy) contd.
20 April 2005 Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Liability: employers, supervisors harasser Procedures - fair treatment to: the accused the victim Sanctions and remedies Protection against victimization
20 April 2005 Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Vicarious liability of the employer for acts of employees General principle in some countries: Employers are vicariously liable for (unlawful) acts of their employees unless the employer can show that reasonable steps have been taken to avoid unlawful conduct (adopted policy of no tolerance, enforced policy, provided training)
20 April 2005 Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Other Means of Addressing Sexual Harassment


Workplace Policies and Practical Measures

Preventive and Remedial Reinforce and Build on legal prohibitions If effectively implemented, they increase reports and decrease incidence of sexual harassment at work

20 April 2005

Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Other Means of Addressing Sexual Harassment


Collective bargaining provisions: may be voluntary or legally binding: - National - Sector - Enterprise
20 April 2005

Codes of Conduct/Policies: usually voluntary, may be combined with legislation: - National - Trade Unions - Enterprise
Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Key Components of Workplace Policies


Strong statement on organizations attitude

toward sexual harassment Clearly worded definition of sexual harassment Clear delineation of responsibilities of management and workers Detailed procedures for grievance handling
20 April 2005 Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Key Components of Workplace Policies (contd)


A communication campaign/strategy A systematic training strategy Adequate counselling and referral

services

20 April 2005

Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Procedures
u Burden of proof u Special procedures to reflect sensitive nature of sexual harassment cases: no press, in- camera hearings, special training of officers, counselling u Confidentiality
20 April 2005

u Ensure natural justice guarantees to accused u Graduated sanctions in line with severity of the conduct u Other remedies u NO VICTIMIZATION
Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,

Other Practical Measures


Improve safety of work environment (e.g. well-lit

work areas, balance of men and women in all levels during all work hours at all workstations) Make panels rather than individuals responsible for interviews and selections in hiring and promoting Remove inappropriate materials from the workplace Display anti-sexual harassment posters Use monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to review and modify policies

20 April 2005

Katerine Landuyt, NORMES,