Sexual harassment

As the person concerned- what to do? Take heart and act!

There are various possibilities to fight sexual harassment. Do something! The worst decision is to do nothing. If you have questions, your contact point will support you every step of the way.

1. Immediate reaction

Tell the harasser immediately and clearly that his or her conduct is unwelcome and not to be tolerated. If no heed is taken and the harassing continues, tell the harasser that you will report the incidents.

2. Write a letter

If you are afraid of a direct confrontation with the harasser, or if you were not successful with your intervention, write a letter to the harasser. Put in writing what is disturbing or molesting and demand that the harassing conduct stop. Make a copy of this letter.

3. Find allies

Talk to people you trust. Get in touch with colleagues – you may not be the only person being harassed, and you could take joint action.

4. Get help

Turn to the specialized contact points/offices. Specifically trained specialists will listen, advise and support you. It is also possible to ask your superiors or staff services for help. Careful: Superiors/senior staff are legally bound to take action in cases of sexual harassment. This means that they must report the incident and have a duty to act. If this is not what you wish, these contacted persons can be caught in a conflict of interests, whereas the consultants of the external contact points are subjected to absolute confidentiality. They are committed to the person concerned and will not take any kind of action without the victim’s consent.

5. Initiating legal steps

Please seek advice if you are contemplating legal steps. From arbitration processes to a legal report or even a criminal charge the law offers many kinds of instruments to fight sexual harassment. Specialized contact points like the department for equality of the university, the aforementioned contact offices as well as trade unions and staff organizations will help you.