Sample Laws
Last updated December, 2014

In partnership with UN Women, The Advocates for Human Rights created the following sections for UN Women’s Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls. This section, along with sections addressing other forms of violence against women and girls, may be found under Legislation at www.endvawnow.org.

Sample Laws
The following excerpts of laws from around the world demonstrate the varied ways in which sexual harassment in the workplace has been criminalized.
  • The Penal Code in Algeria defines sexual harassment as abusing the authority conferred by one’s function or profession in order to give orders to, threaten, impose constraints or exercise pressure on another person for the purpose of obtaining sexual favors. A person convicted of this offence is subject to imprisonment of two months to one year and a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 dinars. See: UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women, Law No. 04-15 amending the Penal Code to create the offence of sexual harassment; article 341 bis Criminal Code.
  • The Hungarian Criminal Code (Articles 174, 180,197, 198 of the 4th Act of 1978) prohibits the ‘‘constraint’’ of a person ‘‘with violence or menace to do, not to do, or to endure something’’ where this ‘‘causes a considerable injury of interest.’’ It also prohibits the use of “an expression suitable for impairing honour or commits another act of such a type, a) in connection with the job, performance of public mandate or in connection with the activity of public concern of the injured party, b) before a great publicity.” (See: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in EU Member States, p.22, 2004)
person, who being in a position of authority, or holding a public office, who persistently makes any sexual advances or requests which he or she knows, or has reasonable grounds to know, are unwelcome, is guilty of the offence of sexual harassment and shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than three years or to a fine of not less than one hundred thousand shillings or to both.
  • The Criminal Code in Lithuania states that:
A person who, in seeking sexual contact or satisfaction, harasses a person subordinate to him in office or otherwise by vulgar or comparable actions or by making offers or hints shall be considered to have committed a misdemeanour and shall be punished by a fine or by restriction of liberty or by arrest. 2. A person shall be held liable for an act provided for in paragraph 1 of this Article only subject to a complaint filed by the victim or a statement by his authorised representative or at the prosecutor’s request. (See: Criminal Code, Art.152.)
  • Philippine law provides that sexual harassment is committed in a work-related or employment environment when, among other instances: The sexual favor is made as a condition in the hiring or in the employment, re-employment or continued employment of said individual, or in granting said individual favorable compensation, terms, conditions, promotions, or privileges; or the refusal to grant the sexual favor results in limiting, segregating or classifying the employee which in a way would discriminate, deprive or diminish employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect said employee. The penalty for this crime ranges includes a term of imprisonment of one to six months and/or a fine of 10,000 to 20,000 pesos. (See: Republic Act No. 7877, sec. 7)
  • And finally, in Spain:
Whoever seeks favours of a sexual nature for him/herself or for a third party in the context of an ongoing or steady occupational or educational relationship or one involving the provision of services and with such behaviour objectively and seriously intimidates or places the victim in a hostile or humiliating situation shall be punished as a perpetrator of sexual harassment and punished with three to five months imprisonment or six to ten months fine. The penalty is harsher if the perpetrator in committing sexual harassment avails him/herself of a higher occupational educational or hierarchical rank or expressly or tacitly avows to jeopardise the victims legitimate expectations within the scope of such relationship in this case the penalty is 5 to 7 months imprisonment or 10 to 14 months fine or when the victim is particularly vulnerable for reasons of age, illness or personal situation in which case the penalty is up to 7 months imprisonment or 10 to 14 months fine or up to 6 months to 1 year imprisonment when in such cases the perpetrator commits the illicit act from a position of superiority as described above. (See: Penal Code, Art. 184 – Const. Act 10/1995 of 23 November)