Definition of Harassment and Establishment of a Non-Retaliation Policy
last updated November 1, 2003

The policy should include a clear explanation of prohibited conduct including, for example, unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors and any other verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature or based on sex which is prohibited under law. The definition should clearly (1) include quid pro quo harassment, such that submission to any of the conduct described above cannot be made, explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or used as a basis for any employment decisions and (2) ban all such behavior that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

It should be the policy of the organization that it will not tolerate retaliatory actions taken against those who make allegations of harassment or witnesses of harassment from any source as a result of such persons' initiation or support of a sexual harassment allegation.

Please note that these recommendations must be revised to reflect applicable national and local law before they could be implemented by an employer.

Adapted from EU Code of Practice on Measures to Combat Sexual Harassment included in Commission Recommendation of 27 November 1991 on the protection of the dignity of women and men at work, Official Journal L 049, 1-8 (24 February 1992); EEOC Enforcement Guidance: Vicarious Employer Liability for Unlawful Harassment by supervisors No. 915.002, 11-18 (June 18, 1999); Indian National Commission for Women, Code of Conduct for Workplace adopted in accordance with the recent Supreme Court Judgment on "Sexual Harassment of Women at the Work Place" Vishaka & others vs. State of Rajasthan and others (AIR 1997 SC 3011); South African National Economic Development and Labour Council, Code of Good Practice on the Handling of Sexual Harassment Cases; Canadian Human Rights Commission in cooperation with Human Resources Development Canada and Status of Women, Anti-Harassment Policies for the Workplace: An Employer's Guide (December 2001); and ABA, Mark I. Schickman, Sexual Harassment: The Employer's Role in Prevention.