Don’t suffer harassment in silence, says local lawyer

A recent poll of over 1,000 working women reveals that 60 per cent have had a male colleague behave ‘inappropriately’ towards them, with one in five describing the behaviour as persistent. And although it happens more to women, men can be victims too.

Employment expert Richard Dale at Sheffield-based Wosskow Brown Solicitors explains that the 2010 Equality Act makes employers responsible for the workplace behaviour of their employees:

“Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct which violates the dignity of a person and creates an intimidating, degrading or offensive environment.”

He advises employees who experience sexual harassment to follow a series of simple steps before seeking legal advice. The first is to keep a written record of exactly what happens, including names of potential witnesses. The employee should try complaining directly to the culprit, if they feel able to do so. If this makes no difference the employee should consult their employer’s policy on harassment and follow its grievance procedures.

“A lawyer will provide expert advice and will tell you whether you have a case that can be taken to an employment tribunal. If you do make a claim, it’s important to show that you’ve tried to resolve things with your employer and to produce evidence of the steps you’ve taken.”

If harassment leads to an employee resigning, it’s possible for them to claim constructive dismissal if they have worked for their employer for two years. Alternatively a claim for discrimination can sometimes be brought, regardless of length of employment. Legal advice is essential in either case, as the law in these areas is complex.

Richard Dale concludes:

“No one should have to suffer sexual harassment or indeed any type of harassment. The law is there to help when difficulties can’t be resolved.”

If you find yourself in a difficult situation because of your employer, we can offer confidential and helpful advice. Call our expert today for a free consultation.

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