Committee Against Sexual Harassment - For Supervisors and Managers

For Supervisors and Managers

Guidelines for Supervisors and Managers

1. What is your role in the prevention of sexual harassment in the area for which you are responsible?

It is important for staff who have leadership and management roles and may be the first point of contact for a staff or student concerned about sexual harassment to familiarize themselves with the University's policy and procedure against sexual harassment and take practical steps in your workplace or learning environment to prevent sexual harassment and create a supportive atmosphere.

As a supervisor or manager, you can make a difference:

•   Be a role model
Nurture a sexual harassment-free workplace and/or learning environment
Communicate the University's policy against sexual harassment clearly
Take each complaint seriously and respond promptly
Enhance awareness of colleagues and students
Receive regular training on gender equality and prevention of sexual harassment


2. What can you do to prevent sexual harassment from occurring in your workplace/ learning environment?

To promote and maintain an atmosphere that discourages sexual harassment, some simple steps may include:

•   Regularly alerting staff and students in your area to the University's policy against sexual harassment;
Circulating copies of the University's policy against sexual harassment and guidelines from time to time;
Making it clear to staff and students that sexual harassment is not tolerated;
Displaying and distributing educational and promotional materials including booklets, information leaflets and posters produced by the Committee Against Sexual Harassment;
Encouraging staff and/or students, especially newly appointed staff, to attend programmes/talks about prevention of sexual harassment and gender equality;
Arranging an information session or workshop about sexual harassment for staff or students in the workplace or learning area through the Committee if necessary.


3. What can you do to respond to incidents of sexual harassment?

Supervisors and managers should offer assistance in case you are approached by a staff or student who has a concern, problem or complaint in relation to sexual harassment for help or advice. Whenever necessary, you may seek advice from the designated officers of the Panel Against Sexual Harassment as soon as possible about how to handle the case. The current designated officers are:

Name   Phone     Email
a)  Professor Helene Fung, Convenor           3943 6464            This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
b) Professor Ko Wing-hung, Member 3943 6781 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
c) Ms. Yvonne Luk, Secretary 3943 8716 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In any case in which a complaint is raised that may disclose an issue of sexual harassment, the staff or student concerned should be advised to refer the matter to the Panel Against Sexual Harassment. The designated officers of the Panel Against Sexual Harassment will provide support and advice about the University's mechanism and options for dealing with allegations or complaints of sexual harassment. It is important for supervisors and managers to maintain strict confidentiality with regard to any complaints about sexual harassment in accordance with existing University policies and applicable laws.

Supervisors and managers at all levels play an important role in encouraging a positive workplace and learning environment. If something observed that is in breach of the University's policy, you should act to stop it. You may:

•   Discuss the issue with the staff/student whose behaviour is of concern;
Advise that staff/student that the behaviour could be offensive and that it is not appropriate behaviour in the workplace and learning environment; and
Seek advice from the designated officers of the Panel Against Sexual Harassment.


4. What acts may constitute sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment can take a variety of forms. Any sex-related language, action or physical contact that is unwelcome may constitute sexual harassment. A sexually hostile environment will also constitute sexual harassment which takes place in the form of an environment where there are actions, language or pictures that makes a person feel sexually threatened or harassed.

Sexual harassment does not have to be intentional or aimed at any particular subject and may be explicit or implicit. Sexual harassment may occur between persons of the same sex or opposite sex. The unwelcome behaviour needs not be repeated or continuous. A single incident may be sufficient to constitute sexual harassment.

The following are some examples of sexual harassment acts:

•   Repeated attempts to make a date, despite being told "NO" each time
•  Comments with sexual innuendoes and suggestive or insulting sounds
•  Relentless humour and jokes about sex or gender in general
Sexual propositions or other pressure for sex
Implied or overt threats for sex
Obscene gestures or inappropriate touching (e.g. patting, touching, kissing or pitching)
Offensive communications of a sexual nature (letters, phone calls, faxes, e-mail messages, etc.)
Displaying sexually obscene or suggestive photographs or literature
Staring or leering at a person or at parts of his/her body

More examples of sexual harassment can be found from the Committee website at


5. What do you need to know about the University's procedures for dealing with sexual harassment?

The University has procedures to deal with allegations or complaints of sexual harassment and to provide proper redress if and when sexual harassment occurs.

There are three stages to the complaints procedures:

Stage 1 Advising and Early Resolution
Stage 2 Conciliation
Stage 3 Formal Investigation

Stages 1 and 2 are both informal procedures. The staff/student concerned may elect to bypass conciliation and proceed directly with formal investigation.

Stage 1 Advising and Early resolution

The staff/student concerned may contact a designated officer of the Panel Against Sexual Harassment for advice and support. The designated officer will address his/her concern with a view to clarifying the concern and discussing options available to resolve the complaint.

Stage 2 Conciliation

Conciliation is a voluntary process. It will only be arranged where both the complainant and the complainee are willing to be conciliated. If the parties reach a settlement, the agreement signed by the parties is legally binding. Under normal circumstances, attempts at conciliation do not require the filing of a written complaint.

The Panel Against Sexual Harassment will offer to facilitate conciliation of a dispute upon request of the complainant or the complainee.

Stage 3 Investigation

Investigation is a formal procedure. If the complainant wishes the University to initiate an investigation into an act of sexual harassment, he/she should file a written complaint with the Panel Against Sexual Harassment.

Further information about formal procedures for investigation is set out in the University's policy against sexual harassment which can be downloaded from the Committee website at