From Iceland — Supreme Court: Not Sexual Harassment When Your Naked Boss Invites You In Hot Tub

Supreme Court: Not Sexual Harassment When Your Naked Boss Invites You In Hot Tub

Published February 17, 2012

The Supreme Court has denied the awarding of damages to an employee of Isavia, who did not consider what she went through at a summer cottage with her boss and fellow employees to be sexual harassment.
The incident in question took place in March 2009, Eyjan reports. The woman who would end up filing charges, along with the managing director of Isavia and another male employee, took a trip to a summer cottage in the countryside. Part of the purpose of the trip was to go over the changes the woman would be experiencing at her job, which would involve taking on greater responsibility.
When evening rolled around, the two men got in the hot tub, and repeatedly tried to get the woman to join them, who refused. Instead, she sat in a chair outside the hot tub. It was then that she realised that her boss was naked. The woman excused herself and went to her room, placing her traveling bag behind the door to keep anyone from coming in. An hour later, her boss knocked on the door, and then pushed his way into her bedroom.
Originally, Reykjanes District Court ruled that the woman was sexually harassed, and that Isavia should pay the woman 1.8 million ISK in damages. However, the Supreme Court disagreed, saying that what the woman experienced was not sexual harassment as defined by law; her boss’ behaviour was inappropriate, but not illegal. They also believed that the woman’s reaction to the incident did not indicate that she felt it was a serious matter at the time. She was therefore denied the awarding of any damages.

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