Sexual Harassment at Work

Sexual Harassment at Work

Google says it is taking a "hard line" on inappropriate conduct at work and claims it is serious about providing a "safe and inclusive workplace".

In a 2016 poll, carried out by the Trades Union Congress, of 1,553 women it was found that more than half had been subjected to unwanted behaviour including groping and sexual advances.

So what constitutes sexual harassment? Sexual harassment occurs where A engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, and the conduct has the purpose or effect referred to in section 26(1) of the Equality Act 2010.

Section 26 of the Equality Act 2010 prohibits three different types of harassment including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is discrimination and the law is clear – it is illegal.

Allegations of this nature can cause reputational damage to any business, expose a company to costly litigation and cause issues with retention of staff. Furthermore, an employer will be held vicariously liable for any acts of harassment by its employees against other employees, in addition to the guilty party being personally liable for their actions.

If an employer can successfully argue that they took steps to prevent such behaviour from occurring then they may avoid corporate liability. It is therefore vital any business takes the necessary steps to educate its employees in order to prevent harassment in the work place.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published guidance for employers on dealing with cases of sexual harassment in the work place. If you are an employer you should certainly familiarise yourself and utilise this guidance, in order to protect your company and its employees. Your business should adopt a no tolerance policy.

No employee should experience or tolerate harassment or abuse of any nature in their workplace and employers should take immediate action to tackle the issue. As an employee you are protected by the Equality Act. Whether you are an employee or employer and a case of sexual harassment has arisen Clapham and Collinge can provide the means and the legal assistance to help you. Contact us today to discuss your individual requirements in further detail, our specialist Employment Lawyers will talk you through your options and advise on the next steps. Call 01603 693500 or email us using 'Make an enquiry' form. Appointments available at our Norwich, North Walsham and Sheringham offices.

*This article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice.

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