Click here to download the IFJ Policy on Sexual Harassment

This policy will be both circulated and drawn to the attention of all participants at the outset of each IFJ event.

The IFJ seeks to encourage the active participation of its members in meetings, projects, campaigns and activities. The IFJ is committed to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct in all its activities. The IFJ is committed to assure and promote gender equality.

Every member has the right to participate and to be treated with dignity, equality and respect. Any kind of behaviour or intimidation that undermines these basic rights is unacceptable.

All participants taking part in IFJ events and activities must

  • avoid personal remarks or behaviour that may cause offence or distress
  • challenge and report inappropriate language or behaviour if you see it or hear it or

The IFJ has a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment within its structures, events and activities.

What is meant by sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is where any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature occurs, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

It can include:

  • Unwanted physical contact, suggestive remarks or 'banter', propositions of a sexual nature or innuendos; unwanted comments on appearance; verbal abuse of a sexual nature or relating to a person's gender; leering; displaying pornographic pictures
  • Sexual harassment directed at people because of their sexuality or their perceived sexuality. Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) members may feel particularly vulnerable.

According to the ITUC and IFJ Gender council, examples of sexual harassment include:


  • Touching, pinching, stroking, squeezing, or deliberate brushing against someone
  • Leering or ogling
  • Making homophobic comments and sexually suggestive signals
  • Sending unwanted e-mails, text messages, whatsapp and any other messaging systems  messages
  • Unnecessary physical contact and touching
  • Physical assault


  • Making sexual comments or innuendos,
  • Calling someone by a sexually-oriented nickname
  • Telling sexual jokes, or asking about sexual fantasies
  • Making insults based on a person’s sex or rating their sexuality
  • Turning work discussions to sexual topics
  • Requests for sexual favours

Sexual harassment is:

  • Unwanted
  • Unwelcome
  • Perceived by the person on the receiving end as intimidating, humiliating, harassment.

Dealing with sexual harassment:

If you are being sexually harassed - you don't have to put up with it.

  • Don’t think it is your fault or that you ‘asked for it’ You have a right not to be harassed. Remember, it's not you, it's him/her.
  • Keep a note of anything that happens including dates, times, where it occurred, what was said or done, witnesses if possible and a copy of letters/emails/texts if relevant.

Informal approach

  • If you feel confident enough, tell the harasser that the behaviour is unwelcome and ask him/her to stop. Sometimes an early, strong response is enough to prevent the matter escalating. But don't worry if you haven't done so the first time or subsequently. Sexual harassment can come as a shock when you are not expecting it and not everyone is ready with the right words and sometimes it takes a while to understand what is going on.
  • If you don't feel confident enough to speak to the harasser individually or personally – you can write/email to him or her or you might want to seek the support of a colleague, IFJ Executive Committee member, Gender Council member or a representative of your organisation to accompany you. But if you can't face it, don't worry.
  • If the person subject to unwanted behaviour wishes to seek an informal resolution of the concern and requests it the designated IFJ representative/s may talk to both parties separately, and will pay particular attention to the allegations made by the subject of the harassment. They will then talk to the parties, together if appropriate, but ensuring that targeted person’s privacy is respected according to her/his wishes, whilst aiming to find a settlement between the parties.

Making a complaint

In all circumstances consider making an official complaint.  You may find this decision difficult but it will not be any more difficult than living with the harassment.

If the incident and/or unwanted behaviour is serious or persistent MAKE A COMPLAINT.

The IFJ will establish a pool of up to 10 members and train them to serve as a member of the independent complaints panel.

IFJ staff who have been subjected to sexual harassment at an IFJ event or in the workplace will have the option of making a complaint under this policy or under the procedures set out in collective agreements and/or their contracts. 

This policy will be distributed as part of the statutory information at all IFJ events, including training sessions, workshops, meetings, conferences and other activities.

The policy will be reviewed by the Gender Council and Executive Committee annually.