Prevention of Sexual Harassment

last updated 9 May 2007

Prevention is the best strategy for eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace.


Many governments have followed the U.S. example of establishing a government agency to monitor employers' policies and responses to sexual harassment and to entertain sexual harassment complaints. In legal regimes which recognize sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination, monitoring agencies take the form of equal opportunity commissions, agencies or ombudsmen.

In addition, many legal systems encourage employers to take steps to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. These steps include communicating to employees that sexual harassment will not be condoned, establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate action to investigate complaints made by employees.

There are also actions that employees may take to try and put an end to the harassing behavior or to preserve their ability to seek legal action against the harasser or the employer.

Finally, trade unions and the media can play a powerful role in preventing sexual harassment through advocacy on behalf of employee victims, the training of managers, and the encouragement of changes in views of sexually harassing conduct and the reporting of such conduct.

For more information on recommended steps that employers, employees, trade unions and the media can take to prevent or put a stop to sexual harassment, please see the section on Prevention Mechanisms, Policies and Strategies.