Gender Equality

Sexual harassment or threats of sexual nature used to intimidate workers


Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that offends, humiliates or intimidates. It can include unwelcome physical contact, as well as verbal conduct (such as sexual comments, jokes or stories, comments about appearance or sexual advances) and non-verbal conduct (such as whistling or making sexual gestures).


Sexual harassment and intimidation in the workplace can be a form of sexual discrimination and is more prevalent than businesses may expect. Sexual harassment may also be a form of violence against women. Victims of sexual harassment (both man and women) can suffer significant physical and psychological effects, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide. Sexual harassment can result in the victim’s absenteeism and resignation and can reinforce the sexualization of woman workers.


Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment and take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment and intimidation in the workplace, such as by developing and implementing a sexual harassment policy and by providing appropriate training on sexual harassment.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, 1958 (No. 111)
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993
Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979



SDG 5.1

Preventing or mitigating risks of sexual harassment and intimidation can support the achievement of SDG 5.1: End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.

SDG 5.2
Preventing or mitigating risks of sexual harassment and intimidation may also further SDG 5.2: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.