Sexual harassment in the workplace is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that is perceived as offensive and unpleasant by the person concerned. According to Art. 4 of the Gender Equality Act, any harassing conduct of a sexual nature or other conduct based on gender that impairs the dignity of persons is understood as discriminatory. Sexual harassment in the workplace violates the personal rights as well as the psychological and physical integrity of the person concerned. Sexual harassment is not always directed against one person, it can also be directed against a whole group. Possible/typical forms of expression of sexual harassment:

  • Lewd and embarrassing remarks
  • Remarks about physical assets or weaknesses
  • Intrusive and appraising looks
  • Sexist remarks and jokes
  • Displaying, posting or putting up sexist material
  • Ambiguous requests or invitations
  • Unwanted physical contact
  • Approaches involving promises of benefits or threats of disadvantages
  • Electronic innuendos or come-ons
  • Forcing sexual relations
  • Sexual and physical assault

Sexual harassment as a factual matter can only be sanctioned against the accused person by the PSI during the period of a valid employment relationship. Criminal offences must be resolved by the courts. Sexual harassment under Art. 198 of the Criminal Code is time-barred as an offence after one year, and the penalty for it is time-barred after three years (Art. 109 of the Criminal Code). The filing of criminal proceedings does not release employers from taking measures against sexual harassment.