Sexual harassment at the workplace: who harasses whom, how and why?


Project description (completed research project)

For some time now, sexual harassment at the workplace has been the topic of serious discussion in research and practice. The Federal Act on Gender Equality prohibits sexual harassment as discrimination based on gender and holds companies responsible for preventing it.

Nevertheless, there is little reliable knowledge of the facts behind harassment, the consequences for persons affected by harassment, repercussions for the company, etc. – especially when men are the victims of sexual harassment by women.


The research project consists of four parts. In the first part, the researchers gather data on sexual harassment in Ticino, based on a similar study conducted in the German- and French-speaking regions of Switzerland. The results therefore allow reliable conclusions to be drawn regarding the actual spread of sexual harassment in Switzerland as a whole. The second part focuses on case studies in private companies and public organisations. By paying attention to different contexts and actors, the researchers investigate how people deal with sexual harassment in everyday working life. In the third part, in-depth interviews with affected women and men provide information on how sexual harassment can come about and what effects it has. In the fourth part, the researchers conduct an anonymous survey of harassers to analyse the role of personality in sexual harassment as well as the situation-determined triggers.

Original title

Sexuelle Belästigung am Arbeitsplatz: Besseres Verständnis heisst wirksamere Prävention

Project leader(s)

  • Prof. Franciska Krings, Département de comportement organisationnel (OB), Universität Lausanne
  • Marianne Schär Moser, Forschung und Beratung, Bern
  • Audrey Mouton, OB, Universität Lausanne