If you’ve been subjected to sexual harassment at work, it’s upsetting and worrying. You probably don’t know what to do or how reporting sexual harassment may affect you and your job.
Our Employment Law Solicitors have years of experience in helping people who’ve experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. A Solicitor can help you by reviewing the circumstances and giving you legal advice and guidance on what you can do next, and if you have a claim for sexual harassment at work.
For free initial legal advice, speak to one of our expert Employment Law Solicitors.
More Information on Sexual Harassment at Work
The ‘Me Too’ campaign has highlighted the problem of sexual harassment in all types of work place and it’s not unique to Hollywood. As society has changed its view on what is acceptable, the laws around sexual harassment have also developed.
Unfortunately, sexual harassment at work continues at different levels and if you’ve been affected by sexual harassment in your workplace it’s important to understand what sexual discrimination is and what you can do about it.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination and is covered by The Equality Act 2010. In the Equality Act, harassment is listed as a separate area of claim.
Harassment at work can happen because of any Protected Characteristic. The Equality Act section 26 includes a definition of harassment and includes reference to sexual harassment.
Harassment is when someone engages in unwanted conduct relating to a relevant Protected Characteristic, and that conduct results in violating the other person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. Harassment can be verbal or non-verbal and does not necessarily happen face to face.
Some examples of this behaviour in the context of sexual harassment at work would be:
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Unwelcome and inappropriate touching
- Sexual assault
- Displaying pornographic images or content
- Asking for sexual favours
- Making decisions that are based on whether sexual advances were accepted or rejected.
These are only a few examples of sexual harassment. If what happened to you is not listed, it doesn’t mean that you weren’t sexually harassed.
Speak to one of our experienced Employment Lawyers about your circumstances and we’ll help you to understand your situation.
Call 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.
What Can I Do about Sexual Harassment at Work?
If you’ve suffered from sexual harassment at work, make sure that you’ve read through your employer’s policies so you know if they have a specific process to follow when addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. These should give you information about who to talk to.
If your employer has an HR department, you may want to raise it with them in the first instance. If not, speak to your line manager. If you are in the situation where your line manager is the one harassing you, you should go to your manager’s manager.
Because of the nature of the complaint, some employer’s will allow their staff to raise any issues of sexual harassment anonymously. This can also protect you from any repercussions and victimisation if you make a complaint, but it may be difficult to understand what was done to address the situation and stop it from happening again.
If your employer does not have any sexual harassment policies or procedures in place or other less formal options of addressing the situation have not worked, you could use your employer’s grievance procedures.
Can I Make a Claim Against My Employer?
In England and Wales you can make a claim against your employer at an Employment Tribunal if you have been sexually harassed at work. Unlike other cases, you can also pursue a claim against the person or people who are doing the harassment. This can lead to the person becoming involved in formal Tribunal proceedings and included on the proceedings. If compensation is awarded to you, the Employment Tribunal could give you a separates awards – one against your employer and one against your harasser.
Compensation for sexual harassment can include an award for loss and for injury to feelings and there is no cap on the amount of compensation awarded. You can also make a sexual harassment claim at any point during your employment, as there is no requirement for a particular length of service with the employer.
Not only is there the option to claim for harassment under the Equality Act, you may also be in a position to link your sexual harassment claim to a sex discrimination claim as well. Your Employment Solicitor or Lawyer will discuss this with you, as it will depend on the circumstances of your case.
Time Limit for Sexual Harassment Claims
There are strict time limits for making a sexual harassment claim. This is usually three months from the act of discrimination or the last in a series of acts which are linked.
You should also be aware that you will have to complete Early Conciliation with ACAS before starting your claim. This process will aim to reach an agreement without the need to go to an Employment Tribunal. During Early Conciliation, any time limits will be paused, so completing this process won’t affect you making a claim.
Because of the short time limit, it’s really important to get advice from a specialist Employment Law Solicitor as soon as possible so you know exactly where you stand.
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