In France, you could end up in trouble with the law if you look a woman up and down and she’s offended by it. “Looking someone up and down” is included in a list of behaviors that could be seen as sexual harassment in France. This list is in a preliminary report issued by the French Parliament back on July 18 – a report that will serve as a guide in implementing France’s brand new law against sexual harassment. Under the old law, the notion of sexual harassment was restricted to “obtaining favors of a sexual nature” and was punishable by a year in jail and a fine of approximately $18,000. The new law is more specific about defining sexual harassment, which is:
imposing on someone, in a repeated way, words or actions that have a sexual connotation and either affecting the person’s dignity because of their degrading or humiliating nature or putting him or her in an intimidating, hostile or offensive situation.
A perpetrator could serve 2 years in jail and be fined about $37,000. If the person you harass is under 15, under your authority, or disabled, you could be fined about $53,000 and serve up to 3 years in prison. Unacceptable behaviors in addition to reckless eyeballing might include:
- sexual jokes
- neck massages
- leaving a pornographic magazine on someone’s desk
The new law will cover interactions in the workplace, universities, housing, and job interviews.