Definitions for sexual harassment vary but in Ireland 14A (7) of the Employment Equality Act define sexual harassment as:
‘any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating as person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading humiliating or offensive environment for the person’
The Act highlights the serious consequences that sexual harassment can have on employees affecting their confidence and overall health causing anxiety and stress. The department of Justice, Equality and Law reform updated the Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment in 2012.
According to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, sexual harassment is defined as an behaviour that damages a person’s dignity (remarking on a person’s body or appearance) or puts them in a hostile situation or environment (displaying pornographic posters).
Sexual harassment can take many forms including:
According to the FRA study, in general, the risk of exposure to sexual harassment is above average for women aged 18 to 39 years old.
Out of all women who described the most serious incident of sexual harassment that had happened to them, 35% kept the incident to themselves and did not speak about it to anyone, 28% talked to a friend, 24 % spoke to a family member or a relative and 14% informed their partner. Only 4% of women reported to the police, 4% talked to an employer or boss at their workplace and less than 1 % consulted a lawyer, a victim support organisation or a trade union representative.
See the main results from the FRA EU-wide survey on violence against women here.
Learn more about sexual harassment, here.