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.