Sexual and Racial Harassment

Both sexual and racial harassment are unlawful under the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1993. In NZ one in three women, and one in six men experience sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment includes;

  • Language either written or spoken (includes making a direct or implied request for sexual activity which contains a promise of preferential treatment or detrimental treatment)
  • Visual material (written, posters, screen savers, emails, VDU’s)
  • Physical behaviour (touching, leering, gestures)
It is behaviour of a sexual nature that is unwelcome or offensive to a person and is repeated or of such a significant nature to be detrimental.

The Human Rights Act makes it unlawful when sexual harassment occurs in employment, education, access to public places, provision of goods and services, provision of land, housing and accommodation, qualifying bodies and vocational training bodies.

Sexual harassment does not need to take place in the workplace itself. It may happen outside of the workplace such as training functions, Christmas parties, or any other situation that would not have occurred but for the complainant’s employment with the employer.

Sexual harassment may occur from employers, managers, supervisors, co-workers or by a client or customer of the employer.

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