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What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment occurs where any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct or activity of a sexual nature occurs, with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person (clause 3 (1) 5) of the Gender Equality Act).

Sexual harassment occurs when it evokes negative emotions in another person and has a disturbing and degrading effect on them. Sexual harassment occurs, for example, when a manager or colleague takes advantage of their influence or the fact that they work side by side with another employee and forces physical behaviour of a sexual nature on that other employee. Sexual harassment can also be verbal, such as dirty jokes or repeated sexual suggestions.

If an employee makes a sexual suggestion to another in a workplace, this does not immediately constitute sexual harassment. If the proposal has been rejected but the person continues making the proposal in a disturbing way, this is harassment.

If the situation cannot be resolved, you can turn to the Equality Commissioner, the Labour Inspectorate or the police. If sexual harassment is confirmed, the victim has the right to receive separate damages for discrimination.

This explanation does not constitute legal aid in a specific case. Therefore, if you feel that you have been treated unequally, but you did not find a solution to your problem in this article, or if you have a question, please contact the Equality Commissioner by e-mail at avaldus@volinik.ee or telephone +372 626 9059. The anonymity of the person is guaranteed when contacting the Commissioner.