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Discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and victimisation 

Linköping University (LiU) is founded on democratic core values based on human rights and equality. LiU is to be characterised by an inclusive work and study environment, where all co-workers and students are treated with respect and where they have the best conditions to work and grow.

LiU will under no circumstances accept victimisation, harassment, sexual harassment or any other form of discrimination.


Victimisation is defined as actions directed against one or more employees in an abusive manner, which could lead to ill health or their being placed outside the community of the workplace (AFS 2015:4). Subjecting a person to victimisation involves treating that person in a derogatory manner through words and/or actions. To be the object of victimisation involves being arbitrarily and unjustly treated differently from others. What is in focus here, thus, is behaviour and actions that are experienced as victimisation by an individual.

Bullying at the workplace entails one or more people being repeatedly and regularly subjected to harassment, abuse or social exclusion over a considerable period of time by one or more people, where the victim is in an inferior position (there is a power imbalance). Bullying is one form of victimisation.

Discrimination involves a person being subject to unfavourable treatment in the form of treatment that is poorer than another person receives, has received or would have received in a comparable situation, if the unfavourable treatment can be linked to any of the grounds for discrimination. Discrimination is an umbrella term for direct and indirect discrimination, inadequate availability, harassment and sexual harassment, as well as instructions to discriminate.

Seven grounds for discrimination have been defined:

  • Sex
  • Transgender identity or expression
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion or other belief
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age

Harassment is defined as unwanted behaviour and actions that violate a person’s dignity, and that can be linked to any of the grounds for discrimination. Examples of harassment are the expression of ridicule or derogatory generalisations coupled to any of the grounds for discrimination. Harassment may also be of a sexual nature, in which case it is known as sexual harassment. Sexual harassment, in addition to verbal remarks, may take the form of groping or leering. It may also include unwelcome compliments, advances and allusions.

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Guide for Handling Offensive Treatment at Linköping University (pdf, revised December 2018)

Page manager: kristina.k.karlsson@liu.se
Last updated: 2018-12-20