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What is Workplace Sex Related Harassment?
Workplace sex-related harassment is behavior targeted directly or indirectly at a sex that consequently makes someone feel intimidated or offended. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
Examples of sex-related harassment include:
- treating a sex unfairly
- picking on or regularly undermining someone because of their sex
- denying someone’s training or promotion opportunities because of their sex
Harassment can happen:
- by letter
- by email
- by phone
The Law on Sex-Related Harassment
Although bullying is not against the law, harassment is. When it comes to an individual’s sex, it’s an employer’s responsibility to prevent and shut down unwanted sex-related harassment.
If an employee is experiencing sex-related harassment, they should first see if they can sort out the issue informally. If this cannot be done, they should talk to their manager, human resources department, and trade union representative.
However, if this does not work, an employee can make a formal complaint using their employer’s grievance procedure. If this does not work, and harassment is still taking place, our employment solicitors can help an employee take legal action at an employment tribunal.
What’s the Difference Between Harassment and Discrimination?
Under the Equality Act 2010, you can classify harassment into three sub-categories. These are:
- Unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic.
- Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature.
- Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that leads to the victim being treated less favourably by the harasser.
For all types, the unwanted conduct must have the purpose or effect of violating the victim’s dignity. Therefore, creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for the victim.
What is the Difference Between Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace?
Workplace bullying and harassment are matters that an employer should take very seriously. Bullying and harassment can have a big impact on an employee’s mental and physical health. If left unresolved, it can significantly affect an employee’s morale, work performance, and the business’s reputation.
When it comes to the difference between bullying and harassment, the differences regard the way it’s set out legally rather than what the employee has experienced. In the Equality Act 2010, bullying isn’t as well defined as harassment. Harassment is more related to the employees’ individual characteristics, such as sex, age, etc. On the other hand, bullying is targeted more towards the employee aside from protected characteristics. Whether an individual is experiencing bullying or harassment is dependent on the specific case.
Preventing Sex-Related Harassment in the Workplace
It is vital for employers to protect employees against harassment related to sex and other protected characteristics. Sex-related harassment can apply if the victim doesn’t personally have the characteristic but has an association with someone who has it. Therefore, if an employee makes a complaint in the workplace, it is worth spending some time to see if a protected characteristic might be at play.
Harassment from the Public
If you are harassed by someone at work regarding your sex, but they are not someone employed at the business, they may be termed a “third party”. A “third-party” is someone you interact with as part of your job who does not have the same employer as you. This could be:
- Customers – such as in a shop, a restaurant, a train passenger, or a hotel guest
- Client– such as in a meeting, or when visiting someone’s home to care for them
- Patient– such as in a hospital
- Business contact – such as in a meeting or at a conference
- Any non-directly employed staff, such as contractors or agency workers
If you have experienced sex-related harassment from a third party, you should report it to your employer and HR department as they have a duty to protect you from it happening again. Your employers should not treat you differently or less favourably because you have reported bullying, harassment, or abuse. If they do our solicitors can help you make a claim for discrimination.
How Our Workplace Sex-Related Harassment Lawyers Can Help Your Claim
Our expert sex-related harassment lawyers are available to support you through your claim. We will work closely with you to make sure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.
Your solicitor will guide you through the legal process. They will help you choose the best options to aid in the success of your claim. At AWH, we believe that sex-related harassment in the workplace is a serious matter which an employer should not ignore. Therefore, our lawyers will work closely with you to hold those who are responsible for the harassment accountable.
Get in contact with our team of solicitors to start your claim.