On the topic of sexual harassment what usually comes to mind is an employer, employee or client/customer making sexually suggestive remarks to an employee, or touching another employee inappropriately.

What employers do not realise is that sexual harassment under the Employment Relations Act can extend to sexual language, visual material or behaviour that another employee finds offensive, even where the content is clearly not designed to elicit sexual favours. Possible examples are: sharing details of one’s sex life; using certain four-letter words; emailing titillating images or lewd jokes; bringing a sex toy to work; or even solo dancing using some sexy moves. The conduct needs to have a detrimental effect on the affected employee’s employment either “by its nature” or “through repetition”.

In the case of conduct by an employer or employer’s representative, this can provide grounds for a personal grievance against the employer. In the case of an employee or customer/client engaging in this conduct, the employer may be subject to a personal grievance in the event it receives a complaint from the affected employee and fails to enquire into the facts and take practicable steps to prevent a recurrence.

For any further information regarding this please contact Rachel Scott or any of the Partners 

This publication is intended as a general overview and discussion of the content dealt with. It should not be used in any specific situation, in which case you should seek specific legal advice.