Sexual Harassment

This page was last updated on: 2021-09-17

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined and prohibited under Employment and Industrial Relations Act and Equality for Men and Women Act. Both harassment and sexual harassment is prohibited under the law. Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination.

It is unlawful for an employer or an employee to sexually harass another employee or the employer (the victim) by subjecting the victim to an act of physical intimacy; or requesting sexual favours from the victim; or subjecting the victim to any act or conduct with sexual connotations, including spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material where the act, request or conduct is unwelcome to the victim and could reasonably be regarded as offensive, humiliating or intimidating to the victim; the victim is treated differently, or it could reasonably be anticipated that the victim could be so treated, by reason of the victim’s rejection of or submission to the act, request or conduct.

A person who contravenes the provisions relating to sexual harassment in the law is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding €2329.37 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or to both such fine and imprisonment. In line with the Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence Act, 2018, a person guilty of an offence of sexual harassment is liable to the punishment of imprisonment for a term from six months to two years or to a fine of not less than €5,000 and not more than €10,000, or to both such fine and imprisonment:

Employer is deemed to have discriminated against a person by neglecting the obligation to suppress sexual harassment. A person who alleges that an employer is in breach of provisions relating to harassment, sexual harassment and non-discrimination provisions, he/she may lodge a complaint to the Industrial Tribunal. The Tribunal may order cancellation of an employment contract and order payment of compensation for loss and damage sustained by the aggrieved party as a consequence of the breach.

It is the duty of the employer to take effective measures to prevent all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex, in particular harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace, in access to employment, vocational training and promotion.

Sources: §12 of the Equal Treatment in Employment Regulations; §28-30 & 32 of the Employment and Industrial Relations Act; §9 of the Equality for Men and Women Act (CAP. 456); Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence Act, 2018; §251-A of the Criminal Code