How to Report Sexual Harassment at Work
Reporting sexual harassment at work can be a really difficult thing to do, so we’ve provided a list of things you can do below.
In England and Wales it’s against the law for anyone to sexually harass you at work, but it can be difficult to know how to go about reporting it to your employer or even making the decision whether you want to report it or not.
Despite #MeToo, many people who experience sexual harassment at work are still not reporting the issue. But, if you are clear about how to report the issue to your employer and the action you can take, this may help you to feel more comfortable about reporting it.
If you don’t feel comfortable about speaking to your employer about the issue initially, you can contact our Employment Law Solicitors to see where you stand legally and to get some reassurance about what to do next.
If you are suffering from sexual harassment at work, you don’t have to put up with it.
For free initial legal advice contact our Employment Law Solicitors.
How to Report Sexual Harassment at Work
We’ve outlined some of the usual steps you can take to report sexual harassment in the workplace. But note that your employer may have a different process in place for reporting harassment. You’ll probably find this in their policies and procedures.
The first thing you should try to do is tell the person to stop. It can be difficult to speak up at work sometimes but if you tell them to stop, hopefully they will.
If the sexual harassment doesn’t stop, you should consider telling someone. This will be difficult but it doesn’t really matter who it is. It could be a friend, a work colleague, a Trade Union representative or an Employment Law Solicitor.
Finding out what the sexual harassment reporting process is at work will help you to be clear about who you need to report to. Your employer may have a specific sexual harassment policy but they may not. But it should be fine to report to your line manager as long as they are not the one harassing you, or to your HR department if you have one.
Keep a Record
Keep a record of when and where the sexual harassment is happening. Include any information about who might have seen what happened, whether you reported it and any action taken by your employer. Keep copies of any emails, social media posts or texts.
Even if the person sexually harassing you tries to apologise or changes their behaviour, it doesn’t mean they’re not responsible for sexual harassment. Make a note of changes in their behaviour.
Don’t put any allegations on social media as this could hurt your case.
Raise a Grievance
You can take more formal steps and raise a grievance with your employer. You should follow their procedures which they should have outlined in their grievance policy.
If you’re not feeling confident enough to write a letter and raise a grievance, one of our Employment Solicitors can help you.
Once you make a grievance, your employer has a duty to investigate your allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. They should give you the opportunity to discuss it in private. They do need to stop the harassment and resolve the situation. Even if they do stop the harassment, you could still make a claim against them for sexual harassment.
Time Limits to Make a Claim
There are strict time limits when making an Employment Law claim. You only have three months from the last act of sexual harassment.
Before your claim can go to an Employment Tribunal, you’ll have to complete Early Conciliation with ACAS. This is to try to resolve your claim before you go to an Employment Tribunal. The time limits on your claim are paused whilst the Early Conciliation process is completed.
What is Sexual Harassment?
The Equality Act 2010 says that sexual harassment is any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can take many forms and can result in criminal charges in some cases.
Unwanted sexual conduct can include:
- Sexual comments or jokes
- Emails of sexual nature, with sexual content
- Unwelcome sexual advances such as kissing
- Unwelcome and inappropriate touching
- Sexual assault
- Displaying pornographic images or content.
Our Employment Law Solicitors can provide expert legal advice and help you to get the best outcome for your situation.
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