Due to the huge public shaming that has taken place over the last few weeks, Hollywood is now addressing its sexual harassment issues. Incidents involving high profile entertainers such as Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein have taken over headlines as well as our TVs and social media. 
But what about the sexual harassment that affects employees of non-famous employers? UK law provides a wide definition of sexual harassment, which protects employees from behaviours including inappropriate sexual comments and jokes, emails with sexual content and unwanted physical behaviour. Further, if an employee is treated unfavourably after reporting sexual harassment to their employer, they are also protected by victimisation laws. 
Earlier this year, former NHS Manager Helen Marks was awarded £832,711 in a high-profile case after being sexually harassed by a colleague. 
Mrs Marks was awarded the compensation following an employment tribunal, which found she had been unfairly dismissed, sexually discriminated against, harassed and victimised. Not only a distressing ordeal for Mrs Marks, the total cost to the NHS is estimated to be in the region of £1.4m once legal and other costs are included. 
If an employee is the victim of sexual harassment it can have serious effects on their wellbeing and potentially, their performance at work. It is important that employers ensure they deal with harassment allegations correctly in order to avoid liability themselves. They must investigate allegations of sexual harassment fully and initiate disciplinary proceedings if appropriate and as soon as possible. An employer must also take reasonable steps to prevent this type of behaviour in the workplace. A thorough Equality Policy should be in place and suitable training and guidance should be provided to employees which outlines what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. 
Any claim of sexual harassment or sex discrimination must be made to the Employment Tribunal within 3 months of the incident occurring. If you are an employer who requires assistance with these issues, please get in touch. Likewise, if you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, Spencer Shaw Solicitors are here to support you every step of the way by providing confidential and independent advice. 
If you need further information or support, please call 0121 452 5130 or alternatively email enquiries@spencershaw.co.uk. 
Tagged as: Sexual Harassment
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