What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is discriminatory conduct that reflects a lack of respect and undermines the dignity of the person who is subjected to it. "Discriminatory conduct means any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature or any gender-based behavior that undermines the dignity of a person at the workplace, particularly uttering threats, promising advantages, imposing constraints or placing pressure of any kind on a person for the purpose of obtaining sexual favors" (Federal Act on Equality between Men and Women, Art. 4).

This discriminatory behavior can be words, gestures or acts, such as: improper or embarrassing remarks about a colleague's physical appearance; sexist remarks or jokes about colleagues' sexual characteristics, behavior or orientation; improper invitations with sexual intent; unwanted physical contact; stalking a colleague inside or outside the company; approaches accompanied by promises of reward or threats of reprisal; sexual assault, sexual coercion, attempted rape or actual rape. ("Sexual harassment in the workplace - A guide for employe", BFGE).