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Sexual Harrasment at Workplace Laws in Different Countries

The United Nations General Recommendation 19 to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women defines sexual harassment of women to include: “such unwelcome sexually determined behavior as physical contact and advances, sexually colored remarks, showing pornography and sexual demands, whether by words or actions. Such conduct can be humiliating and may constitute a health and safety problem; it is discriminatory when the woman has reasonable ground to believe that her objection would disadvantage her in connection with her employment, including recruitment or promotion, or when it creates a hostile working environment.”

At best, the development of Sexual Harassment Law has been inconsistent over the world. This could be due to a lack of understanding about the severity of the situation, as well as the current status of women in certain areas. The greater the recognition of women's rights, the more attention issues like this will receive since they will shock the collective conscience of the people.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which was enacted in 1964 in the United States, was the first law outlawing this behavior. Since then, sexual harassment laws have been included into criminal codes, labour laws, human rights and violence against women legislation, and anti-discrimination and equal opportunity statutes in countries all over the world.

The United States of America

In the United States, a complainant has several legal choices, including mediation, filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or bringing a claim under a state Fair Employment Practices (FEP) Act (both for workplace sexual harassment), or filing a common law tort. Not all cases of sexual harassment will be regarded severe enough to warrant a judicial action. However, the majority of the time, multiple forms of harassing behaviors are present, and there is no legal minimum for harassing conduct. A sexual harrasment victim frequently lacks a strong legal case against the perpetrator. Few cases ever make it to federal court as a result of this, as well as the general propensity for settlement.

The United Kingdom

The 1975 Discrimination Act was amended in 1986, and sexual harassment was recognised as a form of discrimination. Harassment is defined as unwanted sexual conduct or behaviour based on a person's sex that has the consequence of infringing on their dignity. It is also harassment if an employer treats someone less favorably because they have rejected or consented to either of the forms of harassment outlined above.


Sexual harassment is defined by the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 as “unwanted sexual behaviour in circumstances where a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have expected the harassed person to feel offended, embarrassed, or frightened.”


“The reality of harassing anybody using instructions, threats, or restraint, in order to seek favors of a sexual character, by a person misusing the authority that functions confer on him,” is described as sexual harassment according to Article 222-33 of the French Criminal Code. This indicates that the harasser must have authority over the harassed (essentially, sexual harassment cannot occur between coworkers of the same rank). Moral harassment, on the other hand, occurs when an employee is subjected to repeated acts (one is not enough) with the intent or effect of degrading (deteriorating) their working conditions, which may jeopardize their rights and dignity, affect their physical or mental health, or jeopardize their professional future.


Pakistan has passed a Code of Conduct for Gender Justice in the Workplace, which would address issues of sexual harassment in the workplace. The Alliance Against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (AASHA) stated that they will collaborate with the committee to develop standards for the proceedings. Sexual harassment is defined by AASHA in a similar way to how it is described in the United States and other cultures.

Hong Kong

To safeguard service providers against sexual harassment by their customers, an amendment to Hong Kong's Sex Discrimination Ordinance has been proposed. It is illegal for a service provider to sexually harass a customer while giving or supplying products, facilities, or services under existing legislation. However, the law does not prohibit a client from sexually harassing a service provider. This would protect all persons in all the service sectors in Hong Kong.

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