The tart who was sexually harassed

There’s an absurdity here:

A New Zealand sex worker has won a six-figure payout as part of a settlement after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a business owner, the country’s human rights commission has said.

The settlement was an important reminder that all workers, regardless of the type of work they did, have the right to freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace, said Michael Timmins, director of the office of human rights proceedings.

No, the absurdity isn’t the one you’re thinking of. Whores gain the same protection of the law as everyone else. Rape of a prostitute is rape etc.

So, yes, it’s entirely feasible that someone working in a brothel could be sexually harassed by their boss. And if they were then they should be protected etc.

No, the absurdity is here:

“Context is everything. Even in a brothel, language with a sexual dimension can be used inappropriately in suggestive, oppressive or abusive circumstances,” the tribunal said.

“It follows that it is not possible to ask whether a ‘reasonable sex worker’ would find the behaviour unwelcome or offensive.

“If in a brothel language or behaviour of a sexual nature could never be considered unwelcome or offensive, sex workers would be denied the protection of the act.”

Precisely because context is everything then the test has to be that of the reasonable sex worker. Certain questions that would be sexual harassment in another context (“How trimmed are you?”) would be entirely reasonable employment related queries.


Thus the only reasonable test is the reaction of the reasonable person in that situation. You know, like we use in so many other areas of law.

5 thoughts on “The tart who was sexually harassed”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Who could deny that a sex worker could be offended by the language used by her boss?

    But I would be interested to know how the judge knew what language a sex worker was likely to be exposed to. Did he, perhaps, call some witnesses?

  2. Another question occurs on this is. Would the compensation for exposure to crude language and behaviour make up for what in other contexts would not be acceptable? One might insist that pay cannot exempt a party from things otherwise protected under an Act. But if you then claim protection from the act, from such behaviour, you’ll be asking the court to compensate you. That would indeed be circular logic. Ergo Pay and compensation form part of the context.

  3. “You know, like we use in so many other areas of law.”

    Nope. Like we used to use in so many other areas of law.

    Reasonable application of context went out the window years ago to enable prodnoses to take offence on other people’s behalf.

  4. Is one of the inappropriate questions to said tart whether she can eat an apple through a tennis racket, or have I got the NZ tart confused with someone else?

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