Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

by | Dec 2 2020 | Discrimination, Employment Disputes

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By Alex Ashcroft
Alex heads up LGBT Lawyers' web design and writes about LGBT legal issues in his spare time. While not part of the LGBT community himself, Alex is an avid supporter of LGBT rights. With interests in politics and connections in Brighton's LGBT music scene, Alex brings another valuable perspective to LGBT life.

Sexual Harassment In The Workplace |  Read Time 8-10 Minutes.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is still prevalent this day in age, alarmingly, it is particularly worst for LGBT individuals. A general secretary for Frances O’Grady refers to sexual harassment in the workplace for LGBT people as a “hidden epidemic”.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that “around seven out of ten LGBT workers experienced at least one type of sexual harassment at work (68 per cent) and almost one in eight LGBT women (12 per cent) reported being seriously sexually assaulted or raped at work”.

A representative for the Government Equalities Office expressed: “It is appalling LGBT people are suffering this harassment. Workplaces should be safe, supportive environments for everybody”.

However, change is happening; legislation has changed to protect you against sexual harassment. Guidelines published in 2020 by the Equality and Human Rights Commissions state all businesses must ensure “Employees come to work knowing they will be safe and protected from discrimination, victimisation and harassment of any kind”.

What should you know?

1. There are strict time frames for making a sexual harassment claim. Typically, the time frame is three months is for sexual harassment matters.
2. If making a sexual harassment claim, you will need to complete Early Conciliation with ACAS. By completing Early Conciliation with ACAS will pause any times limits applicable to your sexual harassment matter.

Sexual harassment in the workplace - LGBT Lawyers

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is unwelcome behaviour in the form of sexual advances, inappropriate sexual remarks, or requests for sexual favours. Furthermore, sexual harassment is unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. The legislation states that sexual harassment behaviour, which is meant to or has the effect of:

1. Violating your dignity, or
2. Creating an intimidating, degrading, hostile, or offensive environment.

What is sexual harassment in the workplace?

Sexual harassment can happen anywhere; however, it is commonly reported to occur within the workplace. It can be harmful to individuals causing emotional and physical problems. Distressingly, TUC research discovered that 16% of LGBT said sexual harassment at work had affected their mental health.

You may be wondering at this point what sexual harassment entails within the workplace?

Sexual harassment is split into three forms which include:

Physical conduct:
1. Unwanted touching (35% of LGBT women reported in TUC research that they had experienced unwanted touching whilst at work)
2. Being subject to a strip search in the presence of someone of the opposite sex

Non-verbal conduct:
1. Indecent exposure
2. Unwanted display of sexually explicit images and objects
3. Unwanted gestures which portray a sexual nature

Verbal:
1. Unwanted flirting
2. Sexual jokes
3. Unwanted sexual comments
4. Inappropriate sexual enquiries
5. Sexual favours

What do I do if I have been subject to sexual harassment in the workplace?

The first step you should take if you feel you have sexually harassed at work is to read thoroughly through your employer’s policies. By reading through your company’s policies will ensure that you understand if your work has a process which you can follow when addressing a sexual harassment matter.

Additionally, you can approach and inform your HR department. However, suppose you are not able to report it to your HR department. In that case, you should report it directly to your line manager.

Moreover, because of the complex nature of sexual harassment complaints, most employers will allow you to report the matter anonymously. Employers have a legal duty to act about sexual harassment.

However, if the steps above do not provide a satisfactory solution, you should get in contact with a solicitor. Your employer will be responsible for paying any compensation awarded from a sex harassment compensation claim which is granted by the Employment Tribunal.
If sexual harassment involves serious offences such as violence and rape, it should be reported directly to the police. Victims should also immediately seek advice from a solicitor.

sexual harassment in the workplace - Two women in the office- LGBT Lawyers

How can a solicitor help if you have been sexually harassed in the workplace?

Seeking a solicitor is advised immediately after the first instance of sexual harassment. A solicitor can help by supporting you and guiding you through the complicated process. Additionally, a solicitor can advise you on claiming in the County Court for the damage caused to your physical and mental wellbeing. Furthermore, if you feel you are unable to continue working a solicitor can approach an Employment Tribunal on your behalf for constructive dismal.

The key benefits of using a solicitor for matters concerning sexual harassment in the workplace include:

1. Applying to the court – A solicitor can help you by making an application to the court on your behalf and provide support for you attending court.

2. Clarity – A sexual harassment solicitor can provide clarity, advocacy, or representation when presenting sexual harassment evidence in court.

3. Protection – Seeking legal advice from a sexual harassment solicitor will ensure your best interests are protected. Additionally, it can provide you have full representation for sexual harassment investigations.

4. Employment tribunal – A solicitor can approach the Employment Tribunal of your behalf.

5. Inform – A solicitor can inform you of any critical information regarding time frames such as when a sexual harassment matter needs to be reported the court.

How can LGBT Lawyers help if you have been sexually harassed at work?

At LGBT Lawyers, we tailor our legal services specifically to the LGBT community and everything that being LGBT entails. Our network of regulated and qualified LGBT Lawyers will ensure your legal requirements are met.

We can put you in contact with an expert sexual harassment lawyer who will provide you with a cost-effective solution. The lawyer will assess your situation, give objective advice, and lead you to the success of defending or pursuing a sexual harassment claim.

LGBT lawyers provide the LGBT community with access to expert regulated LGBT lawyers across the UK. Our aim at LGBT Lawyers is to ensure LGBT clients receive exceptional service quality by connecting you with lawyers who offer legal advice which is free from any attitude or judgement.

If you feel you have been sexually harassed at work please don’t hesitate to call us. We can put you in contact with an expert lawyer today. To get in contact with a lawyer now you can call us on 020 3795 9020 or email us at info@lgbtlawyers.co.ukAlternatively, if you want to find out more information about harassment click here.

 

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