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Sexual Harassment

Complaints of sexual harassment can lead to costly settlements, high-profile departures of senior management, expensive litigation, loss of productivity, damage to reputation, an adverse effect on employee and customer relations and steep declines in share prices.

The costs of mishandling an allegation of sexual harassment can be catastrophic.

How we can help?

Avoid the expense, damage and seek advice from one of our specialist solicitors as soon as you become aware of any sexual harassment allegation. It is possible armed with some initial strategic advice to save off a crippling claim.

We are experts in helping our clients deal with sexual harassment allegations internally as part of a grievance process or through a tribunal claim efficiently and cost effectively. We Have helped many employers over the last 11 years and use our wealth of experience and specialism to provide our clients with an edge.

What Our Clients Say:

Impeccable Service; Costs and time frame agreed at the outset and all worked according to plan, no hesitation in recommending – Daniel Naresh, Head of HR

Call or email us for a no obligation and confidential consultation
0203 669 22 16
enquiries@herefordssolicitors.co.uk


What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment occurs where both:

  • A engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature.
  • The conduct has the purpose or effect of either violating B’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B.

Examples of sexual harassment:

  • A person imitates a sexual act at work that makes a colleague feel degraded.
  • An employer asks one of her workers if the worker is having sex with his boyfriend, which intimidates and humiliates him.
  • An employer displays a screensaver of a topless woman, which creates an offensive environment for other workers.
  • A man overhears a female colleague being subjected to sexually abusive language and this causes him offence.
  • A manager puts his hand up his assistant’s skirt during the office Christmas party.
  • An employee has had a relationship with his boss. When the employee ends the relationship, his boss spreads rumours about his sexual preferences at work.

Examples of conduct of a sexual nature:

  • Sexual comments or jokes
  • Displaying sexually graphic pictures, posters or photos
  • Suggestive looks, staring or leering
  • Propositions and sexual advances
  • Making promises in return for sexual favours
  • Sexual gestures
  • Intrusive questions about a person’s private or sex life and discussing your own sex life
  • Sexual posts or contact on social media
  • Spreading sexual rumours about a person
  • Sending sexually explicit emails or text messages
  • Unwelcome touching, hugging, massaging or kissing
  • Criminal behaviour, including sexual assault, stalking, indecent exposure and offensive communications.

Preventing sexual harassment in the workplace

Taking appropriate steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace is important for all employers, from a business perspective as well as a legal one.

Complaints of sexual harassment can lead to costly settlements, high-profile departures of senior management, expensive litigation, loss of productivity, damage to reputation, an adverse effect on employee and customer relations and steep declines in share prices. For example, when Ted Baker announced in December 2018 that it would investigate claims of inappropriate behaviour by its CEO and founder, the price of shares in the company fell by more than 13%.

Recruitment and employee retention can also suffer. In November 2018, there was worldwide walkout at Google’s offices in response to the handling of senior departures following sexual misconduct allegations.

Sexual harassment issues can also have regulatory consequences for regulated employers.

Effective measures an employer can consider taking include:

Investigating the extent of the potential problem in its business identifying areas of risk.

Creating a workplace culture of zero-tolerance to harassment and where all employees are encouraged to report inappropriate behaviour.

Having an effective anti-harassment policy that clearly sets out what conduct is unacceptable, the employer’s zero-tolerance approach to such conduct, how employees can report inappropriate conduct, the process that will be followed and the support available for victims of harassment and those who report it.

Having effective reporting mechanisms in place and ensuring all employees are aware of them

Ensuring managers deal with complaints of harassment quickly, effectively and in a sensitive way, that the perpetrators of harassment are sanctioned, and those who report harassment are protected from victimisation

Providing anti-harassment training for all employees, given from induction onwards, and specific training for managers in how to deal with complaints of harassment.

Having nominated employees to monitor harassment issues and offer support to victims of harassment

Ensuring third parties such as suppliers and customers are aware of the employer’s zero-tolerance policy to harassment and that employees are aware that it will take reports of harassment by third parties seriously

Making it clear to employees that harassment of all those they come into contact with at work will not be tolerated

Ensuring its policies provide adequate protection and the right to report sexual harassment to all workers

Requiring settlement agreements in sexual harassment claims to be signed off or reviewed at board level to ensure the effective monitoring of the number of claims

Are you dealing with a sexual harassment complaint or need training or anti-harassment policies in place?

Call or email us for a no obligation and confidential consultation
0203 669 22 16
enquiries@herefordssolicitors.co.uk

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Call or email us to arrange a free consultation.

0203 669 2216

enquiries@herefordssolicitors.co.uk

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