The University of Zurich has a set of regulations to ensure protection against sexual harassment ("Reglement zum Schutz vor sexueller Belästigung an der Universität Zürich," in the following RSB). These regulations are based on the fundamental assumption that all staff and students should treat each other with respect. This does not mean that interpersonal relations should be purely impersonal, distant and formal. On the contrary, friendly and relaxed personal interaction, also between women and men, is and should be a normal part of everyday life at the University. Nevertheless, the regulations stipulate unequivocally that sexual harassment is prohibited and will not be tolerated.
To whom do the regulations apply?
All staff and students at the University of Zurich.
What is sexual harassment?
Any behavior that injures or demeans a person on account of their gender, and that the targeted person finds uncomfortable.
What is permitted and what not?
Friendly compliments, shared coffee breaks and University fitness events, humorous conversations and banter are certainly not a problem. Behavior that is inappropriate and not permitted includes unwelcome physical contact, intrusive behavior, salacious remarks and jokes about appearance or physical characteristics. Showing potentially offensive images or behaving in other ways conveying or creating an oppressive work or study climate also contravenes the regulations. The same naturally applies to all unlawful sexual acts.
Where can I find the precise wording of the regulations?
The document is available in the Zurich law collection (ZH-Lex, in German)
Please not that «UniFrauenstelle – Gleichstellung von Frau und Mann» is the former name of the Office for Gender Equality and Diversity.
The regulations also stipulate what measures are to be taken in the event of sexual harassment, and what rights the affected parties have.
What can affected parties do?
Affected parties might, as a first step, try to rebuff the harassment. If this fails or is not possible, the University has designated two people who may be contacted for initial confidential advice and support: Dr. Christiane Löwe (Office for Gender Equality and Diversity) and Dr. Rita Stöckli (General Secretary, UZH). Furthermore, the University has designated Prof. Dr. iur. utr. Brigitte Tag (Faculty of Law) to handle any legal issues in cooperation with the University’s Legal Services.