EU Commission Code of Practice on Measures to Combat Sexual Harassment
last updated 17 December 2007

In 1992, the European Commission developed a Code of Practice on Measures to Combat Sexual Harassment. This code focuses on sexual harassment as a form of employment discrimination that prevents "the proper integration of women into the labour market." The code aims both at preventing sexual harassment and ensuring that adequate procedures are available to deal with sexual harassment should it occur. Sexual harassment is defined as

unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or other conduct based on sex affecting the dignity of women and men at work. This can include unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct. Thus, a range of behaviour may be considered to constitute sexual harassment. It is unacceptable if such conduct is unwanted, unreasonable and offensive to the recipient; a persons rejection of or submission to such conduct on the part of employers or workers (including superiors or colleagues) is used explicitly or implicitly as a basis for a decision which affects that person's access to vocational training or to employment, continued employment, promotion, salary or any other employment decisions; and/or such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or humiliating working environment for the recipient.

The code recommends that employers work in consultation with workers' organizations to develop policies on sexual harassment that deal with prevention and procedures. The code also provides recommendations as to how employees and trade unions can work to prevent and react to sexual harassment. For more information on sexual harassment employer policies and recommendations concerning the prevention of sexual harassment, please see the related discussion in the section on prevention mechanisms, policies and strategies.