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sexual harassment in the workplace
Sexual harassment at work has been an issue for women in workplaces for many years and at didlaw we here to support you if you have faced harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which violates your dignity, makes you feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or which creates a hostile and offensive environment for you to work in.
Sexual harassment at work has been highlighted in the media and especially social media since the #metoo movement gained prominence and the arrests of sexual predators such as Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein. We all know what it looks like and that it is unlawful unwanted conduct, but it still occurs in the workplace despite the best efforts of many employers to eliminate it through training and sanctions being applied to perpetrators.
Sexual harassment at work doesn’t have to be physical treatment only. Verbal harassment like lewd sexual comments or jokes are also covered. Any kind of touching of a sexual nature is prohibited by law.
Unfortunately, the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace get the short end of the stick. This applies to both women and men. We have dealt with cases where a man has been sexually assaulted by a manager, but it is far more common that the victim is a woman.
Probably one of the most difficult aspects of being sexually harassed at work is the fear of what might happen to you, your income, your career and your reputation if you make a complaint. History is littered with examples of victim-blaming and women who have been singled out and treated badly because they do complain: look no further than Monika Lewinsky. Sometimes the treatment after raising a complaint of sexual harassment at work can be even worse than the treatment which led to the complaint. Employers can “punish” women who speak out and inadvertently “reward” perpetrators especially if that person is in a position of power or control. The power dynamic is especially tricky, but we have sadly seen it all before.
Sexual harassment employment law can help with these situations. The main way didlaw can help you with this, other than by providing you with legal advice and steering you on a course to find a solution is by supporting you and giving you the courage to speak out and deal with the problem. It will be difficult, but you should not allow someone else’s misconduct to ruin your work and your life. The law protects you by providing a remedy and a sexual harassment lawyer from our team can guide you on your way.
In some situations, your employer might be liable for acts of sexual harassment that take place out of the workplace, for example unwanted conduct at a works’ drinks event or an overseas business trip.
There are many sexual harassment solicitors in London and across the nation. This shows the level of demand for advice on this unacceptable behaviour. So why choose didlaw?
- Because we have deep experience in this sector acting against major corporations and international entities to protect the rights of women we work for;
- Because our former and current clients will tell you how successful we are in achieving outcomes which will put right some of what you have suffered;
- Because we are not just another law firm and we understand the sensitivity and difficulty of cases like this. Our client service is second to none as evidenced by our testimonials.
For more online resources you may wish to consult the following information:
How to report sexual harassment at work:
If you wish to report sexual harassment at work, you should first check whether your employer has an anti-harassment policy in place; this should set out how sexual harassment can be reported. Employers operate a range of reporting systems; some state that harassment should be reported directly to a manager or HR, whilst others have transitioned to use anonymised reporting tools such as third party telephone helplines or online form submission.
If your employer does not have a specific anti-harassment policy in place, you could also raise your complaint of sexual harassment by filing a grievance with your employer. Our lawyers are experienced in writing grievances and we will set out exactly what your desired outcomes are from the process. If you would rather not deal your employer directly, we can also request all communications about your grievance are sent to you via didlaw.
Should you be unsatisfied with the handling of your sexual harassment report, you may have an actionable claim in the Employment Tribunal. There is a time limit to bring a claim of three months after the last instance of sexual harassment. Your didlaw lawyer will be able to advise you about time limits and lead you through the stages of making a claim.
What is considered sexual harassment at work?
Sexual harassment occurs when a person (A) engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, which has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of another (B) or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B. B may also suffer harassment if they are treated less favourably for rejecting or submitting to unwanted conduct of a sexual nature.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission provide some examples of behaviour that could be classified as ‘conduct of a sexual nature’, which includes but is not limited to:
- sexual comments or jokes
- displaying sexually graphic pictures, posters or photos
- suggestive looks, staring or leering
- propositions, sexual advances and making promises in return for sexual favours
- sexual gestures
- intrusive questions about a person’s private or sex life or a person discussing their own sex life
- sexual posts or contact on social media or sending sexually explicit emails or text messages
- spreading sexual rumours about a person
- unwelcome touching, hugging, massaging or kissing
Our lawyers use their experience in negotiation and litigation to achieve our clients’ desired outcomes whilst minimising stress. After reviewing the facts, they can give you an honest assessment of your case and suggest some next steps towards resolution.
What is the sexual harassment at work act?
Protection against sexual harassment in the workplace, or for being treated less favourably as a result of rejecting or submitting to sexual harassment, is set out in Section 26(2) and (3) of the Equality Act 2010.
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