Working with you to protect your employees and safeguard your business.
Employers must take reasonable steps to protect employees from sexual harassment and deal with any incidents properly. If you do not, you could be found legally responsible for sexual harassment that happens in your workplace. This can have serious repercussions for your business, including costly legal fees and damage to your reputation.
At Partners Employment Lawyers, our sexual harassment legal experts regularly work with businesses, providing advice, training and legal services that ensure they are compliant with their legal requirements. Our services let you in on the law so you know exactly what is expected of you and how best to implement a zero-tolerance approach in your workplace. If you require any assistance concerning sexual harassment, please contact us today.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is unwanted conduct in relation to sex or sexual behaviour that intends to or does
- violate a person’s dignity; or
- create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person; or
- where because of the individual’s rejection of, or submission to, the conduct, they are treated less favourably than they would have been if they had not rejected or submitted to the conduct.
What is unwanted sexual conduct and behaviour?
Whether the behaviour is unwanted is the view of the affected employee. Examples of unwanted sexual conduct include:
- Sexual comments, jokes or gestures
- Questions about a person’s sex life
- Sexual comments made via social media, emails or text messages
- Sexual propositions
- Unwelcome physical contact, such as touching, hugging or kissing
- Sexual assault, stalking, indecent exposure and other criminal behaviour
When does conduct violate an employee’s dignity or create an offensive environment?
This depends on the complainant’s perspective and if their reaction is reasonable in the circumstances. Each matter should be dealt with individually, taking into account the nature of the incident and the age, seniority and cultural background of those involved.
What are my obligations as an employer?
You must take reasonable steps to prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace and at all work-related activities (e.g. office parties, external meetings and training). This includes having an effective anti-harassment policy and harassment reporting procedure.
Your anti-harassment policy should be communicated to your employees and should include:
- An explanation of sexual harassment with examples relevant to your workplace
- Details on how to report sexual harassment
- Information on the formal and informal approaches you can take to address incidents
- Details of the different responses that will be taken if harassment occurs
- A statement to make clear there is a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment in your workplace, as well as to victimisation or retaliation against those who report an incident
Your harassment reporting procedure should:
- Provide details on the investigation process
- State that investigations will be dealt with in a fair and timely manner and respect the confidentiality of those involved
- Inform employees that the alleged perpetrator may be suspended to protect the affected employee or the integrity of the investigation
- Inform complainants that formal support can be provided and that they will not be disadvantaged by coming forward
How can Partners Employment Lawyers help?
Sexual harassment complaints are among the most sensitive and complex issues that companies have to deal with. That is why it is vital that you partner with experts in workplace sexual harassment to ensure your business can deal with these matters quickly and effectively.
Hina Belitz and her team provide essential and specialist advice and training to those responsible for sexual harassment in your business. We will work with you to protect your employees and safeguard your business against costly and time-consuming sexual harassment claims. Our people can provide reliable advice when drafting, implementing and reviewing your internal policies and procedures, as well as when dealing with a complaint.
Sexual Harassment Solicitors London
Our Employment Lawyers are based in London and work with business clients operating throughout England. To discuss any sexual harassment concerns with our highly approachable and professional team, call 0207 374 6546 now or contact us online.