Examples of different types of harassment

The causes and forms of harassment are wide-ranging and complex.  The same behaviour may be inoffensive to one person and deeply offensive and intimidating to another.  Unintentional or misinterpreted behaviour may cause feelings of harassment.

The examples given below, which include unacceptable physical and verbal conduct, are not exhaustive.

Sexual harassment

Examples include unnecessary touching, jokes of a sexual nature, inappropriate use of suggestive visual display unit material, intimidating behaviour such as asking for sexual favours in return for positive academic assessment or promotion.

Racial harassment

Examples of racially motivated actions and behaviour include inappropriate questioning about racial or ethnic origin, offensive graffiti and intimidating behaviour such as threatening gestures.

Personal harassment

Examples based on lack of tolerance of personal difference include making fun of personal circumstances or appearance.


Examples of this form of psychological and/or physical harassment include unmerited criticism, isolation, gossip, changes to job duties that are detrimental, responsibilities delegated but without authority, essential information withheld, or behaviour that is intimidating or demeaning.

Harassment on grounds of sexual orientation

Examples include homophobic remarks or jokes, threats to disclose sexuality and intimate questions about sexual activity.

Harassment of disabled people

Examples that undermine the dignity of people with disabilities include discussion of the effects of a disability on an individual's personal life, uninvited touching or staring, and inappropriate questioning about the impact of someones disability.

Age harassment

Examples include derogatory age-related remarks and unjustifiable dismissal of suggestions on the grounds of the age of the person.


Examples include leaving repeated or alarming messages on voice mail or e-mail, following people home, or approaching co-workers to ask for personal information.