What is the difference between sex-based harassment and sexual harassment?

Sex-based harassment and sexual harassment are identified as discrete forms of unlawful discrimination in the Equality Act 2010. Both types of harassment involve conduct that is unwanted from the perspective of the person on the receiving end and has the purpose or effect either of violating the person's dignity or of creating an environment that he or she finds intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive.

Sex-based harassment means unwanted conduct that is related to an individual's sex or the sex of another person, while sexual harassment is defined as "unwanted conduct of a sexual nature".

Sex-based harassment will not, therefore, be sexual in nature but will be behaviour that is linked in some way to gender and causes offence to an individual. An example could be where an employee is constantly telling derogatory or demeaning jokes about women generally and a particular individual (male or female) finds this unwelcome and offensive. Sexual harassment on the other hand is behaviour that has a sexual content or sexual connotation. Examples could include unwelcome physical touching, making sexual remarks to or about a person, telling jokes with a sexual content or displaying sexually explicit images on a computer screen.