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What Is Considered Sexual Harassment?

Published September 01, 2016 (last updated June 2, 2022) - NZ Operations Manager

Many people assume they would recognise sexual harassment immediately if they witnessed it in their workplace. However, it may not be as overt as you may think.

Sexual harassment is any unwelcomed conduct or advancement of a sexual nature. This is not limited to physical touching as it can also include any unwelcomed verbal or physical behaviour that causes a person to feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • sexually suggestive comments or innuendos
  • intrusive personal questions
  • inappropriate staring or suggestive gestures
  • unwelcomed hugging, kissing, or other contact
  • sharing inappropriate images or videos, such as pornography
  • displaying lewd posters in the workplace
  • offensive comments based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender
  • persistent, unwelcomed social invitations
  • repetitive emails and phone calls

Sexual harassment applies to anyone in the workplace including an employee, a contractor, a prospective employee or a volunteer. It may also take place outside business hours, for example at work related events or between colleagues outside of work.

Sexual harassment can have a serious and damaging effect on a business. As an employer it is your responsibility to have an appropriate sexual harassment policy in place, to make sure your staff are trained on how to identify and react to sexual harassment, have an internal procedure for dealing with harassment complaints and ensure you take appropriate action if sexual harassment occurs.

Employsure is a workplace relations specialist and can assist in implementing sexual harassment policies and procedures into your workplace. Call us today on 0800 568 012.

About Employsure

Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small and medium businesses, with over 5,500 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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