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“But it was just a joke…” What is sexual harassment?

Sexual Harassment course snippet

Some of us may be familiar with a supermarket advertising campaign which involves staff members slapping their behinds. While in jest, it made me think. What would happen if I did this at work?

If a situation at work has perceived sexual connotations and makes someone feel uncomfortable, it can be defined as sexual harassment. This does not need to be direct physical contact or even verbal. If person A witnesses consensual sexual behaviour between person B and C and feels uncomfortable, this can be interpreted as sexual harassment.

What happens if I slap my own arse at work and it offends someone?

So, if I slap my own arse in front of someone, and it makes them feel uncomfortable, I’ve technically sexually harassed them.

The way to deal with a situation like this would be for me to find a quiet room to do this in private. In practice, if it made someone feel uncomfortable, they would initially speak with their manager, who would raise the issue with me. If the problem persisted, this would be officially defined as sexual harassment. Excuses such as ‘I had an itch’ ‘there was a fly’ or ‘it’s how I get into the zone’ would not help my case.

Aside from this odd, humorous example, sexual harassment is very serious and is not a minefield. There are some basic definitions and interpretations that need to be understood, and then it becomes a piece of ass cake.

iHASCO's Sexual Harassment Awareness Course is a fantastic way of raising awareness of sexual harassment, it contains realistic examples of sexual harassment to make the subject simple and keeps staff engaged with questions throughout.

Sexual Harassment Course