I frequently receive enquiries from employees who have been subject to sex discrimination or sexual harassment in their workplace. I set out below some guidance for anyone who believes they are suffering sex discrimination or sexual harassment at work.
Who is protected from Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment?
In the employment sphere employees, workers, job applicants, trainees, Company Directors etc are protected from sex discrimination and harassment by their employer. All aspects of the relationship are covered. For example, an employee who is discriminated against in the recruitment process would be able to bring a claim against their prospective employer even if they never worked a day for that business.
How do you know if you have suffered Sex Discrimination or Sexual Harassment?
The Equality Act 2010 sets out various ways in which an employer’s treatment of a person because of their gender is unlawful. Briefly, it is likely you have suffered sex discrimination or sexual harassment if any of the following have occurred: –
This is where you have been treated les favourably because of your sex than someone of a different gender would have been treated. For example, if female employers were required to give two weeks’ notice
This is where the employer has a policy, procedure or similar which appears to apply to everyone but has a detrimental impact upon people of a particular gender. For example, height policies and restrictions.
Harassment Related To Sex
This is where a person suffers unwanted conduct which causes a distressing, humiliating or offensive environment for them. Situations such as jokes and derogatory comments by colleagues which are related to gender.
This is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating for them an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. Situations such as comments about what a person is wearing, speculation about their personal relationships, invasion of personal space etc can be sexual harassment.
Alternatively, this type of harassment could also be unfavourable treatment suffered because of a refusal to agree to a relationship with the harasser. Situations such as bullying at work following the refusal to engage in a personal relationship would be sexual harassment.
If you believe you are suffering Sex Discrimination or Sexual Harassment what action should you take?
In all but the most serious of situations, the Employment Tribunal will expect you to raise your concerns with your employer. This will usually be done through your employer’s grievance procedure. For more information about how to raise a grievance or complaint, please see my blog post https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/how-do-i-raise-a-complaint-or-grievance-at-work Any evidence you can gather to assist in your grievance will be extremely helpful. If the matter can be resolved at that stage, then all to the good.
If your employer continues to discriminate against you because of your gender or the sexual harassment has not been properly dealt with, you may have to consider submitting a claim to the Employment Tribunal. You will need to begin the ACAS Early Conciliation process within three months less one day from the last act or incident of discrimination or harassment. The time limit for submitting your Employment Tribunal claim will depend upon the dates of your ACAS Early Conciliation. However, it is important that you begin the ACAS Early Conciliation process within the three month deadline as to fail to do so may render your claim out of time.
Help from Lincs Law Employment Solicitors
If you believe you have suffered sex discrimination or sexual harassment at work, please call us on 01522 440512 for a free, no obligation, telephone consultation. Alternatively, for more information about Lincs Law Solicitors, please visit our website at www.lincslaw.co.uk.
Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
Lincs Law Solicitors, Lincoln.
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