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Administrative support

Administrative support

Unwanted sexual attention / sexual harassment

OsloMet has a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. No one at the university - neither students nor employees - should ever have to be exposed to unwanted sexual attention or sexual harassment.

If you as an employee have experienced unwanted sexual attention or sexual harassment, the internal conflict management guidelines must be followed.

What is unwanted sexual attention and sexual harassment?

Some bullet points to describe sexual harassment:

  • Unwanted sexual attention
  • Perceived as uncomfortable for the person receiving attention
  • Sexual comments about figure and looks, grabbing, groping, touching and abuse
  • Showing pictures or videos of pornographic or sexualised content and sexual movement
  • A single incident of unwanted behaviour can also be characterized as sexual harassment
  • If there is an imbalance in the relationship of strength or power, the situation if more severe. E.g. the relationship between a supervisor and a student.

It is the recipient of the attention who determines whether it is undesirable. There are no requirements of purpose or intention of the sender.

What to do if you experience unwanted sexual attention or harassment?

  1. Write it down (describe the incident(s), time and place and how you responded). Keep in mind that it is you as the recipient of the attention who set your own limits.
  2. In order for the incident to come to an end, you must tell someone. You have several options:
  • Tell the person concerned as soon as possible - if you manage. This can also be done in writing.
  • Notify in the line - contact the immediate manager with HR responsibility and explain the situation. Talk to the manager on the level above if the case involves your immediate manger. If you wish, you may bring someone you trust when talking to the manager.
  • You may also contact the safety delegate or the union representative - more about the roles of the safety delegates and the union representatives here.
  • Contact the HR contact point at your unit if you wish to get in touch with the occupational health service – see  contact box to the right
  • If the case comes to a standstill, or for various reasons, cannot be handled in the line, you can contact the Whistleblowing commission (varslingsnemda) directly.

It should be safe to notify. Section 2 A-2 of the Working Environment Act states that employees who are protected against retaliation from from the employer in connection with notification. 

What to do if you receive a notification?

What to do as a manager if you receive a notification?

As a manager you are responsible for ensuring that everyone at the workplace has a fully satisfactory working environment. You have a duty of care towards the person affected and a duty to actively bring the unwanted situation to an end.

  • Talk to both parties. Inform of the possibility to bring someone of trust
  • If the situation cannot be easily brought to an end or in case of more serious conditions, you must take interim measures that ensure both parties a fully satisfactory working environment while investigations are ongoing.
  • If you are unsure - seek advice from your own manager, the local HR manager, the HR director or the occupational health service.
  • Inform the people involved about what is going to happen.
  • Ensure neat case procedures with possibilities for opposition, investigation of facts and the required documentation.
  • Follow up on the employees after the case has been concluded.

See also Conflict management guidelines, as well as enclosure 2 to the conflict management procedures - Roles, responsibilities and tasks

What to do as a safety delegate if you receive a notification

The safety delegate is obliged to report to the employer about conditions involving possible dangers to the employees’ health or safety (wea. section 6-2 (3)). If you become aware of incidents of sexual harassment you must therefore notify.

If the situation cannot easily be brought to an end or in case of more serious conditions, you must ensure that the employer implements interim measures that guarantee both parties a fully satisfactory working environment while investigations are ongoing.

If somebody addresses you, assess the situation and inform that in serious cases the "duty of notifying" takes precedence over the employee's desire for anonymity. When someone contacts you, you may:

  • Refer to the web pages about sexual harassment.
  • Inform about the roles of the safety delegates and the union representative.
  • Assist the employee with establishing contact with the manager / management.
  • Inform the employee about the opportunity to contact the occupational health service via the HR contact on the unit.
  • Inform the employee about the conflict management procedures
  • If the case comes to a standstill, or for various reasons, cannot be handled in the line, you can contact the Whistleblowing commission (varslingsnemda) directly.

As a safety delegate you must ensure that the matter is followed up without getting involved in the case processing - this is the employer's responsibility. Remember that as a safety delegate, you must safeguard the working environment of all employees in your safety area, i.e. both the party notifying and the party being notified about. The trade unions and the chief safety delegate do not want the safety delegate to engage in single cases / personal cases because the he/ she can easily be perceived as a party to the case.

As a safety delegate you have the task of ensuring that the employer provides a satisfactory working environment for individuals and for the unit as a whole. Remember that in the wake of harassment incidents it may be necessary to implement measures affecting the entire working environment.

 

Contact

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact your local HR contact.


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