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‘Workplace Ribbing’ Not Sexual Harassment

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION MEDIA RELEASE – 11/09/01

‘Workplace Ribbing’ Not Sexual Harassment

The Human Rights Commission agrees with ACT MP Penny Webster’s statement that “not all comments or all workplace ribbing are ‘sexual harassment’.”

“If it is consensual, workplace flirting or welcomed sexual bantering is simply not sexual harassment, and there is no cause for concern,” said Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome and offensive sexual behaviour or language that is repeated or significant enough to have a harmful effect on a person.
Ms.Noonan also agreed that sexual harassment is a serious issue and that it should not be trivialised.

“This campaign is designed to raise awareness about the problem of sexual harassment, empower young people to take a stand against it, and inform employers of their responsibilities to provide a harassment-free workplace”.

The Commission is sending 5000 sexual harassment prevention kits to restaurants and bars throughout the country so that businesses can establish their own policies and practices to address this problem.

“This and other initiatives which make up the campaign should reduce the amount of sexual harassment complaints that we receive, rather than increasing them, by working to empower businesses to handle the problem of sexual harassment themselves,” said Ms Noonan.

For further information about the Sexual Harassment Prevention Campaign please contact Miriam Bell, Human Rights Commission Communications Officer, on 09 375 8627 or 025 313239


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