What is sexual harassment? Sexual harassment refers to unwanted, unwelcome, or offensive conduct of a sexual nature that changes the terms and conditions of work, where either a person’s rejection of, or submission to, such conduct is used explicitly or implicitly as a basis for a decision that affects that person’s career; or conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or humiliating work environment for the recipient. Sexual harassment can be verbal, written or graphic, gestural, emotional or physical, and include sexual assault. It can also occur when an individual is pressured to engage in sexual behavior in order to obtain certain benefits for a job, such as increased pay or promotion, or sustained employment. The latter form of sexual harassment is called “quid pro quo” or “this for that” sexual harassment.
How does sexual harassment affect health workers? Failing to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace reduces health workers’ motivation and productivity, and violates their right to safety, security, and equitable work conditions.