Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to commonly asked questions about sexual harassment and its impact on the workplace, as well as employers’ statutory obligations in Malaysia.

What is sexual harassment?

Under Part XVA Employment Act 1955, Section 2, it defines sexual harassment as any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, visual, gestural or physical, directed at a person which is offensive or humiliating or a threat to the person’s well-being, arising out of and in the course of the person’s employment.

What are the different types of sexual harassment?

The two main types of sexual harassment are quid pro quo harassment, where a person in a position of power requests sexual favors in exchange for a job, promotion, or other employment benefits, and the other is annoyance, where the conduct is sexual in nature, unwanted, and pervasive enough to create an unsafe work environment.

What are the effects of sexual harassment on individuals and the workplace?

Sexual harassment can have a range of negative effects on individuals and the workplace, including decreased job satisfaction, increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, increased turnover, and legal liability.

What are the legal and regulatory requirements related to sexual harassment?

All employers have statutory obligations under the Employment Act 1955 in respect of handling sexual harassment complaints in the workplace. Part XVA, Section 81A till 81G, states the mandatory duty to inquire by the employer on sexual harassment complaints.

Updates to the Employment Act 1955.
Addition of Section 81H: New requirement for employers to exhibit conspicuously a notice to raise awareness at the place of employment.

Amendment of Section 81F: Penalty increased to RM50,000 from RM10,000 where an employer fails to inquire into complaints of sexual harassment or inform the complainant of a refusal to inquire and the reasons for the same.

At the time of writing, the Amendment Act is to come into force on 1 January 2023.