Due to ongoing questions from staff for information on Prohibition of discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment, and abuse of authority, we have here published the current ST/SGB for your information.
Prohibited Conduct is covered under ST/SGB/2008/5
Protection against retaliation is covered under ST/SGB/2005/21
1.1 Discrimination is any unfair treatment or arbitrary distinction based on a person’s race, sex, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, age, language, social origin or other status. Discrimination may be an isolated event affecting one person or a group of persons similarly situated, or may manifest itself through harassment or abuse of authority.
1.2 Harassment is any improper and unwelcome conduct that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation to another person. Harassment may take the form of words, gestures or actions which tend to annoy, alarm, abuse, demean, intimidate, belittle, humiliate or embarrass another or which create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. Harassment normally implies a series of incidents. Disagreement on work performance or on other work-related issues is normally not considered harassment and is not dealt with under the provisions of this policy but in the context of performance management.
1.3 Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favour, verbal or physical conduct or gesture of a sexual nature, or any other behaviour of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation to another, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. While typically involving a pattern of behaviour, it can take the form of a single incident. Sexual harassment may occur between persons of the opposite or same sex. Both males and females can be either the victims or the offenders.
1.4 Abuse of authority is the improper use of a position of influence, power or authority against another person. This is particularly serious when a person uses his or her influence, power or authority to improperly influence the career or employment conditions of another, including, but not limited to, appointment, assignment, contract renewal, performance evaluation or promotion. Abuse of authority may also include conduct that creates a hostile or offensive work environment which includes, but is not limited to, the use of intimidation, threats, blackmail or coercion. Discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment, are particularly serious when accompanied by abuse of authority.
1.5 For the purposes of the present bulletin, discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment, and abuse of authority shall collectively be referred to as “prohibited conduct”.
5.6 Aggrieved individuals may ask for assistance from a third party in seeking informal resolution. Depending on the situation and on their level of comfort with one official rather than another, they may seek the assistance of any of the following:
(a) The Ombudsman or a member of the Ombudsman’s Office;
(b) The Staff Counselor at the duty station;
(c) A human resources officer at the duty station;
(d) A member of the conduct and discipline team n a peacekeeping mission or at Headquarters;
(e) A member of the executive committee of the staff representative body at the duty station;
(f) A staff representative of the department or office concerned;
(g) The Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women;
(h) The Focal Point for Women in the Secretariat or the focal point for women in the department or office concerned;
(i) A member of the Panel of Counsel or the Office of Staff Legal Assistance;
(j) A supervisor, including the first or second supervisor.