What can you do if you have been sexually harassed at work?
This morning BBC has published a survey on sexual harassment in the work place.
Two in five women in the UK say they have been subject to unwanted sexual behaviour at work and only one quarter of them have reported it.
We must improve this, what can we do?
If you are an employer, if nothing else you must have up to date written policies that give employees a way to report sexual harassment.
You are also encouraged to train your workforce in how to recognise sexual harassment and how to deal with it if it occurs in your business. You are urged to look for signs and stop this behaviour before an employee has to raise a complaint.
If you are an individual, while we recognise it is easier said than done, you are encouraged to come forward. Sexual harassment has been a hot topic in the media and this is helping to educate both employers and employees, and I hope campaigns like #MeToo can only be a positive.
You should use your employer’s informal or formal grievance process. If they do not have one, you should not be discouraged from making a complaint. I would suggest such a complaint is put in writing and sent to for example a manager, director, or
someone in HR. Your letter or email should include as much detail as possible so that your employer is given the chance to investigate.
You also have the option to contact the police, so that they can investigate alongside your employer.
If you feel that you cannot raise a complaint in the work place, then you can seek support externally. You could seek the support from:
- an employment lawyer, such as Kate Brooks.
- Research the area on Acas
- Dorset Rape Crisis or Similar local support networks
- Citizens Advice
- or contact your GP.
Even if you are not an employee, but you are an agency worker or self employed you may be covered by the employment discrimination legislation and you should take advice.
If you are concerned about sexual harassment in the workplace feel free to contact Kate Brooks via email or on 01202 057754 for a confidential discussion about your options. Kate is an employment & discrimination law expert who has extensive knowledge on the subject – recently she appear on BBC Radio Solent discussing sexual harassment in the workplace, listen to the show here.