Gender Equality

Reporting of sexual harassment discouraged or victim stigmatised for doing so


Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace must have access to an appropriate grievance mechanism to lodge a complaint and their complaint fully and fairly investigated and assessed. Access to remedy is a critical element in addressing human rights violations. Grievance mechanisms should provide for disciplinary measures and other remedies if complaints are proven. Businesses should ensure there is no stigma attached to making complaints or otherwise discourage reporting of sexual harassment. Grievance mechanisms require clear, transparent, equitable and accessible design and appropriately address cultural or religious sensitivities (such as by keeping complaints confidential).


To actively encourage the reporting of sexual harassment, businesses should develop and implement a sexual harassment policy, offer special counselling to victims of sexual harassment, and implement disciplinary sanctions against perpetrators.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Article 2
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, Articles 2(2) and 2(3)
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966, Articles 2(1) and 2(3)
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979
Convention Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, 1958 (No. 111)
United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, 2011, Principle 31



SDG 5.1

Eliminating stigma and encouraging the active reporting of sexual harassment leads to the achievement of SDG 5.1: End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.