NZ Human Rights Commission - Accessible HTML Document
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is unwelcome or offensive sexual behaviour that is repeated or significant enough to have a harmful effect on you.
The Human Rights Act makes this unlawful when it occurs in:
- or any other areas covered by the Human Rights Act.
For more information, contact the Human Rights Commission’s toll free InfoLine on 0800 496 877.
Examples of sexual harassment
You may have been sexually harassed if:
- you are subject to offensive sexual remarks in the workplace or school
- you are persistently touched by your boss or co-worker in unwelcome ways
- your landlord pesters you to be invited in and there is a sexual aspect to his or her behaviour
- you are getting unreasonably poor marks after rejecting the advances of a teacher or lecturer
- you are regularly hassled for a date by a co-worker
- your counsellor, doctor or lawyer behaves towards you in an unacceptably sexual way
- you are shown sexually offensive pictures in the workplace.
The Human Rights Act protects people from being victimised because they contacted the Commission about harassment, were involved in a dispute or supported another person to make a complaint.
Why you should act
You don’t have to put up with sexual behaviour you don’t like
- Sexual harassment is often repeated unless action is taken.
- Sexual harassment may impact on how you feel about work, study or accessing services.
- Sexual harassment can lower self-esteem.
- Other people in your situation may have experienced similar behaviour, but felt unable to act.
Why sexual harassment is wrong
- We all have the right to be treated fairly and with respect.
- We all have the right to be free from unwelcome sexual conduct.
What you can do about sexual harassment
- Keep a record of incidents you find offensive.
- Talk it over with someone you trust and who will keep the information confidential. This may help clarify what to do.
- Confront the person who is harassing you, and tell them you don’t like their behaviour. You can do this in person, in a letter, or with a union or other representative.
If this doesn’t work, or is inappropriate, you can seek advice and assistance from:
- a sexual harassment contact person at work
- a manager or school counsellor
- the Human Rights Commission
- your union delegate or a lawyer
- a professional disciplinary group
- the police
- Employment Relations (if you have been harassed at work). Phone 0800 20 90 20.
Disclaimer: While we have tried to make this information as accurate as possible, it should not be regarded as legal advice.
Contact the Human Rights Commission