If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, our employment solicitors can advise on next steps and support you to make a claim. Call our sexual harassment lawyers on 0207 650 3999 and we’ll advise you on the best approach to take.
Your employer has legal duties to protect you from harassment and discrimination of any kind, as well as to provide a safe place of work. If they’ve failed in these duties then you may be able to claim against them.
We know that you might be worried about reporting harassment for fear of it not seeming “serious enough,” or because it might affect your career progression. However, the law protects you (and anyone who supports you) from suffering less favourable treatment as a result of making a sexual harassment claim.
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What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination. It can happen to a person of any sexual orientation or gender identity.
The legal definition of sexual harassment covers:
- Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that has violated your dignity. This conduct may have been intended, or had the effect of creating a hostile, intimidating, degrading, humiliating or offensive working environment for you.
- Receiving less favourable treatment because you rejected, or submitted to sexual advances.
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Examples Of Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
Workplace sexual harassment can come from someone in a position of power, a colleague, a client, or a member of the public. It can happen in person or through text messages, social media, or email.
Examples of sexual harassment can include:
- Being demoted or overlooked for promotion after sexual contact with a manager or a person in a position of authority
- Unwelcome touching or hugging
- Sexual or suggestive comments
- Intrusive questions about your private/sex life
- Sexual assault or rape.
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What Should You Do If You’ve Been The Victim Of Sexual Harassment At Work?
If you’ve suffered sexual harassment at work, you should take legal advice about your options.
Normally the first step is to make a complaint to your employer. This is usually done via your organisation’s grievance or specific bullying/harassment policy. Your employer has a legal duty to investigate your complaint and should invite you to a meeting to discuss what’s happened. In this meeting you have the right to be accompanied – although not usually by a lawyer.
A serious allegation of sexual harassment may also amount to a criminal offence and you should consider reporting the matter to the police also in these circumstances.
If your employer fails to address the issue effectively, you may have the option of making a discrimination claim. In serious cases there may be grounds for you to resign and argue that you were entitled to do so because of your employer’s conduct towards you (known as constructive dismissal).
When considering these options it’s vital that you get legal advice before taking any action. Your lawyer can advise you of the likelihood of you winning your case, and tell you about any relevant time limits.
To make a discrimination claim, you usually have three months less one day from the date of the act you’re complaining about. In a constructive dismissal claim you have three months less one day from the date of termination. Before your case can be heard by the employment tribunal you must go through ACAS Early Conciliation. This process is designed to try and resolve your dispute without the need to go to a tribunal. You must contact ACAS within the three month time limit; otherwise you won’t be able to claim.
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What Services Do We Offer?
Our sexual harassment lawyers are here to support you throughout the process of making a complaint, through to making a claim against your employer. We can help you with:
- Making a complaint to your employer
We can support you in making an initial complaint through your employer’s internal process. This can involve putting together a letter of complaint and helping you to prepare for key meetings with your employer (unfortunately lawyers are not normally allowed to accompany you to these meetings).
- Claiming against your employer
Our lawyers can advise you on whether you have a claim, the chances of success, and any relevant time limits. We’ll support you throughout the claims process.
- Settlement agreements and exit packages
In some cases it may be better to negotiate an exit package with your employer, rather than to go through the process of claiming against them. We can give you advice on your options, and help negotiate the best settlement agreement possible (including the issue of non-disclosure agreements).
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Why Choose Us?
We recognise the impact that sexual harassment in the workplace can have on your life and career. Our lawyers will handle your case sensitively, professionally and confidentially, while fighting to protect your rights and getting you the compensation you deserve.
We’re experienced in helping clients who have suffered sexual harassment and know the law inside-out in this area. Our team regularly goes up against large multinationals to fight for our clients and we have a proven track record of success.
We specialise in helping senior executives and professionals resolve complex employment law issues. We’re highly rated by the independent guide to the legal profession, the Legal 500. Shah Qureshi, who heads our team, is listed as being one of the leading individuals in this area of law.
We’ll give you honest advice that goes beyond simply what the legal position is. We use our experience to give you an upfront idea of how likely we are to win your case, as well as an assessment of your other options. Our team understand that your career and reputation need to be protected too, so we factor this in when advising you.
We have offices in London and throughout the UK, as well as international capability through our membership of various legal networks.
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If you’ve experienced sexual harassment at work, call us today on 0207 650 3999 to discuss your case.
Highly rated by the Legal 500
Specialists in helping senior executives and professionals
Significant experience in sexual harassment cases
Offices in London and around the UK