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What is Sexual Harassment? – Behaviors and Effects –

This section provides explanations on definitions and impacts of sexual harassment with questions and answers.

Q1. What is Sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is sexual language and behavior which makes the other person feel uncomfortable. Basically, language or behavior is regarded as sexual harassment when the other person feels uncomfortable about the language and behavior.

The NPA's measures are designed not only for sexual harassment between national public employees at the workplace but also for sexual harassment against administrative service recipients and outsourced workers. The NPA's preventive measures extend sexual harassment between national public employees even during out of office hours.

Q2. What specific "language" is regarded as sexual harassment?

Language based on sexual interest or desire, including questions on bodily features such as "What are your measurements?", questions to females who do not look well such as "Are you in your menstrual period today?" or "Are you already in menopause?", questions about sexual experiences or sex life, spreading a sexual rumor, and making a sexual joke, is regarded as sexual harassment.

Language based on gender discrimination, including remarks such as "You have no guts for a man" or "I cannot trust women with tasks" and calling an employee "boy", "girl", "old man" or "old lady" ignoring the individuality of people, is regarded as sexual harassment.

Q3. What specific "behavior" is regarded as sexual harassment?

Behavior based on sexual interest or desire, including putting up a nude poster, asking to go to dinner or asking for a date persistently, making a sexual telephone call, sending a sexual letter or e-mail, touching the other's body unnecessarily, and forcing a sexual relationship, is regarded as sexual harassment.

Behavior based on gender discrimination, including forcing women to serve tea, office cleaning, personal business, serving sake at a party, and singing a duet at a karaoke party, is regarded as sexual harassment.

Q4. Why is sexual harassment a problem?

First, sexual harassment constitutes a violation of fundamental human rights. Sexual harassment damages the reputation of individuals and invades their privacy. Some victims cannot endure such treatment and are forced to retire from work as a result of mental or physical harm. Other victims receive disadvantageous treatment in working conditions as a result of refusing sexual harassment or filing a complaint.

Secondly, sexual harassment has adverse effects on working conditions and working environments. Sexual harassment deteriorates human relationships at the workplace and organizational morale. In addition, sexual harassment could disturb workplace order and destroy people's trust in the public service.