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Claiming For Sexually Harassed At Work Cases UK – Complete Guide Compensation For Sexual Harassment At Work

How To Claim Compensation If Sexually Harassed In The Workplace

By Olivia Fitzpatrick. Last Updated 4th August 2021. Sexual harassment at work can be a deeply unpleasant and even traumatic experience. Under the Equality Act 2010, harassment of a sexual nature is prohibited in the workplace, but unfortunately, it still happens.

If you have been sexually harassed at work by another employee or even your employer, you may be entitled to claim compensation for your ordeal. Whether it was a single incident or a pattern of unwanted sexual advances spanning a longer period of time, we can support you in making sexually harassed at work claims.

sexually harassed at work claims

sexually harassed at work claims

To talk about making a compensation claim for sexual harassment at work, call us today on 0800 073 8804 for your free claims consultation. Depending on the nature of your harassment you may be able to claim through an employment tribunal or civil court.

Our advisors understand that being sexually harassed at a workplace can be a deeply distressing experience and they will make sure they conduct the discussion in a professional and sensitive manner.

Alternatively, if you would prefer not to speak on the phone about your ordeal, you are welcome to contact us via our online claims form. If we can see that you have legitimate grounds to claim compensation, we will provide you with a No Win No Fee solicitor who will start working on your sexual harassment compensation claim as soon as possible.

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A Guide To Sexually Harassed At Work Cases UK

Workplaces should be inclusive and respectful environments. Unfortunately, despite there being legislation to protect workers from harassment, incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace do still occur. If you were sexually harassed at a workplace, or you are being sexually harassed at work, what can you do about it? 

In this guide, we look at how to claim for sexually harassed at work cases in the UK. We will explain what sexual harassment entails and the psychological effect it can have on people. We will also explain how you can make an employment tribunal or civil claim for being sexually harassed at your workplace. 

We will explain how you can claim compensation for any psychological damage caused by the incident, as well as funds to pay for any medical treatment you may now be in need of, such as counselling. If you wish to make a No Win No Fee claim for compensation, contact Legal Expert today. You can call us or use our online claims form and if we can see that you are owed compensation, we will provide you with a skilled solicitor to handle your claim as soon as possible.

What Is Sexual Harassment At Work?

The Equality Act 2010 defines unwanted conduct or harassment as that which violates another person’s dignity and creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. 

Sexual harassment is harassment or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. As gender is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, employees and workers are supposed to be protected from being sexually harassed in the workplace. It is thought that sexual harassment is mostly done by men towards women, but this is not always the case. Anyone can experience sexual harassment or sexually harass another person.

An employee or worker can be sexually harassed at their workplace by a colleague, manager or supervisor, customer, contractor or any other type of person they may encounter at work.

Unfortunately, some people may not understand that what they are doing is sexual harassment. For example, they may think they are being funny, or engaging in “office banter”. Therefore it is up to workplaces to set high expectations of how they expect their employees and other stakeholders to behave.

Statistics – Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Statistics graph sexual harassment at work

Statistics graph sexual harassment at work

How many people are sexually harassed at work? Whilst most people think that incidents of sexual harassment at work are declining, a significant proportion of women still report sexual harassment in the workplace.

A recent TUC report has shown that more than half of women in the UK have been sexually harassed at a workplace. The study talked to more than 1,500 women. The results showed 52% of the women surveyed had experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace.

The types of sexual harassment ranged from inappropriate jokes and groping to even more serious forms. Some forms identified are legally considered sexual assault. These forms include unwanted kissing or touching. Women aged 16-24 were affected at a higher rate. 63% reported workplace harassment. In 20% of cases the person accused of harassment was a manager or other authority figure.

Source: [www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/SexualHarassmentreport2016.pdf]

Examples Of How People Are Sexually Harassed At Work

There are many ways that a person can be sexually harassed in the workplace.

  • Unwanted comments of a sexual nature are directed towards a person. This can include comments about their body, appearance or clothing.
  • Emailing sexual content or pornography to colleagues.
  • Unwanted touching, for example, patting a colleague on the arm or leg.
  • Asking probing questions about a person’s sex life or romantic life. Or speaking to a colleague about your romantic life inappropriately.
  • Making inappropriate comments or mocking a colleague about their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Having inappropriate material displayed such as a calendar or a screensaver with images of a sexual nature.
  • Behaving in a sexually coercive or predatory manner.
  • Offering a promotion or other benefits at work in exchange for sexual favours. Or threatening someone’s career, or threatening to fire them, if they do not take part in sexual favours.

Whilst people who engage in sexual harassment are responsible for their bad behaviour, an employer that allows sexual harassment at work to continue can also be held liable for any damages caused. This is called vicarious liability and arises when one party is held liable for the actions of a third party. This is because your employer is supposed to protect you at work.

What Are Unsafe Working Environments?

Under the Health And Safety At Work etc. Act 1974, employers are supposed to provide their staff with safe and hygienic environments in which to work. If an employee is injured or becomes ill due to the negligence of their employer, they could claim compensation.

An example of this could include an employee being injured because they tripped on a loose floorboard, which their employer neglected to fix. In this case, the employer may well be liable for the employee’s injuries.

Similarly, an employer must make sure that their working environment has no instances of sexual harassment. The Equality and Human Rights Commission warned that conditions such as an imbalance of power, lone working, being in a customer-facing role, alcohol (for example working in a bar) or a lack of diversity on the team, can lead to conditions where sexual harassment may become apparent.

A lack of workplace training or a poor culture may also lead to sexual harassment becoming a problem. If an employee reports that they have experienced sexual harassment or witnessed another employee being sexually harassed, the employer should take the complaint seriously and investigate. If the report is found to be true, the employee or stakeholder who conducted the sexual harassment should be disciplined appropriately.

Offensive Working Environments

An offensive working environment is an environment where employees may be subject to sexual harassment, or where harassment is seen as the norm. Other employees, managers, contractors, or customers may routinely make sexist jokes, sexualised comments about their colleagues’ appearance, or look at pornographic images.

In the workplace, it is up to management to set the tone of a working environment and to send their employees very clear signals about how they should behave.

Discriminatory Working Environments

A discriminatory working environment can become a sexually harassing work environment. Although anyone can be sexually harassed or be a perpetrator of sexual harassment, sexual harassment is largely something that is done to women by men. 

Sexual harassment may be more likely to happen to female employees in an environment that is mostly male. Similarly, it has been found that sexual harassment may be discriminatory in nature. For example, a woman of different ethnicity may experience harassment as a form of discrimination.

Sadly, such workers are overrepresented in less secure working environments, for example working insecure jobs such as zero-hours contracts. Workers who are sexually harassed in less secure working environments may be more reluctant to report sexual harassment for fear of losing their jobs. You should not have to suffer in silence. Contact us today for free legal advice and support.

What Should You Do If Victim To Sexual Harassment At Work?

Any form of harassment at work can be awfully distressing, let alone incidents of a sexual nature. Fortunately, there are steps you can take if you experience anything like this. 

Firstly, we recommend that you check that your employer has a policy on discrimination and harassment. This may outline how your employer deals with harassment and explains which person you need to report being sexually harassed at work too. If sexual harassment was a serious incident, you may want to raise a formal grievance.

If you are a member of a union, you may want to contact your local union representative to assist you. Finally, you could take sexually harassed at work cases UK to a solicitor to claim compensation. 

What Should Your Employer Do?

Your employer should take your sexual harassment at work complaint seriously and handle it in a sensitive manner. Most employers will conduct a hearing following a complaint. In instances where the problem was not resolved, the employee may be able to take their employer to an employment tribunal.

What Impact Could Sexual Harassment Have On People?

Unfortunately, sexual harassment can have a negative effect on an employee. This effect can be psychological. For example, the person can suffer from depression, anxiety or have trouble sleeping.

Similarly, a person who has been sexually harassed may find it impacts their work. They may have problems concentrating, avoid certain people or places, or consider leaving a job where they had previously been happy. Sometimes instances of sexual harassment at work can have a negative effect on a person’s career.

If you are an employer, you can look for signs of your employees being sexually harassed at work. For example, if an employee is withdrawn, irritable, or wants to avoid certain situations, or is generally acting out of character, they may have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

If you believe an employee or colleague has been sexually harassed, you may wish to talk to them in confidence. Our team can help if you need to make sexually harassed at work claims.

Employers Liability And Responsibility

Employers have a duty of care towards their employees. This means that they have to provide a safe environment in which to work. If an employee is sexually harassed at work by a customer, a colleague, manager or another stakeholder, the employer is obliged to take steps to resolve the matter.

If they refuse to do so or only take inadequate steps, this can be seen as negligence. The employer may have vicarious liability for the psychological injuries that the employee suffered and have to pay them compensation as a result.

It is recommended that employers have a policy on discrimination and harassment which outlines how they protect employees from being sexually harassed in the workplace and has instructions for dealing with sexual harassment complaints.

Sexual Harassment Claims Through Employment Tribunals

Sexually harassed at work claims could be taken through employment tribunals. The job of an employment tribunal is to settle matters of dispute between employees and their employers. This can include workplace sexual harassment and other forms of employment issues.

Time Limits for Sexually Harassed at Work Claims

In order to be eligible to make a claim through an employment tribunal, you must ensure that they receive your case no longer than 3 months (minus 1 day) after the incident in question occurred. For example, if you were sexually harassed at work on the 12th of February, the court must have received your claim on or before midnight on the 11th of August in order for it to be valid.

It’s of the utmost importance that you’re aware of this time limit. If you try to make a claim once this limitation period has ended, you may no longer be eligible for compensation.

Building a strong case in this short space of time can be a stressful prospect for many claimants to face, particularly if they’re dealing with the trauma of sexual assault. Having help from a personal injury lawyer can ease the pressure from the claims process, allowing you to focus on coming to terms with your experience. To learn more about the services offered by our panel of personal injury lawyers, please get in touch today for a free consultation.

Claims Through The Civil Courts For Sexual Abuse

If you were sexually harassed at your workplace and this harassment became sexual abuse, you may be able to claim for sexual abuse or sexual assault via the civil courts for the physical harm and psychological suffering inflicted.

We understand that sexual abuse can be a terrible and disturbing thing to go through.  No amount of money can make up for the terrible wrong that was done to you. However, claiming compensation for sexual abuse will help you demand accountability from your employer if they failed to protect you. You will also receive funds to cover the cost of any counselling you may be in need of to come to terms with your ordeal.

Sexually Harassed At Work Compensation Claims Calculator

How much compensation could be paid out for sexually harassed at work claims? If you are being sexually harassed at work or were sexually harassed at work UK in the past three months, you may be able to take your former employer to an employment tribunal.

If you are wondering how much compensation you could claim for workplace discrimination, you can use our table below to estimate. Of course, sex-based discrimination, and other forms of discrimination can be a delicate matter, so speak to Legal Expert today for an accurate quote on how much compensation you could claim.

Updated August 2021.

Type Of Dismissal ClaimAverage CompensationMaximum Compensation
Unfair dismissal£13,704£947,585
Discrimination because of religion or belief£4,767£12,000
Sex based discrimination£8,774£24,103
Race based discrimination£12,487£33,660
Age based discrimination£26,148£172,070
Ability / disability based discrimination£28,371£416,015

Please note that these amounts do not include special damages.

Updated figures for 2021

Annual figures have been published for discrimination in the workplace. These show that in 2019/20 the largest average awards (£39,000) were paid for age based discrimination. The highest maximum award paid out was for disability discrimination. This was £266,000.

During this period 580 claims were awarded compensation for unfair dismissal. The average settlement was £11,000 and the maximum was £119,000 The percentage of claims for unfair dismissal which are awarded compensation has fallen overall since 2010/11. In 2017/18 there were 540 claims. This did rise in 2018/19 to 660. 56% of claimants were represented at their tribunal by a lawyer. This was up from just 21% in the year 2018/19.

Other Damages In Sexual Harassment And Abuse Claims

This information relates to damages claims through the civil courts, not employment tribunals.

If you have been harmed by sexual abuse or sexual harassment at work and make a successful civil claim, your compensation package will include heads of claim. The first is general damages, which is compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity that the incidents may have caused. 

You will also be able to claim special damages. This is compensation to reimburse you for any expenses incurred due to the harassment or abuse. For example, you can claim funds to pay for counselling to help you come to terms with your ordeal, or make a loss of earnings claim if the harassment had a detrimental effect on your career.

Contingency Fee Agreement Sexually Harassed At Work Cases UK

Funding sexually harassed at work claims can be a concern for people. If you choose Legal Expert to handle your claim, you will have the option to make a No Win No Fee claim if you make a claim via the civil courts.

If you make your claim at an employment tribunal, you will have the option to make a similar type of claim, but the name of the agreement is a little different. Instead, it is known as a Contingency Fee Agreement (CFA).

Under a CFA, you will only be required to pay a fee if you win your compensation claim. This fee is a small one and capped by law. In the unlikely event that you do not win your compensation claim, you will not be charged a solicitors fee so there is less financial risk involved. Another bonus is that there are no fees to pay upfront or during the claim either. 

To learn more about making a No Win No Fee claim, call Legal Expert,  read our online guide, or contact Legal Expert today to speak to an advisor.

Why Select Us To Handle Your Sexual Harassment Case?

If you wish to claim compensation for being sexually harassed at work UK, or sexually abused, contact Legal Expert today to see if we can help you. What can we provide you with?

  • The skills and advice of an experienced solicitor to handle your sexual harassment compensation claim.
  • The option to have your case handled on a No Win No Fee basis.
  • A promise that we will push to win you the maximum amount of compensation you may be owed.

Start A Sexual Harassment Claim

We are experienced at handling sexually harassed at work claims. If you have been sexually harassed at a workplace we could help you. To begin your claim, contact Legal Expert today.

Call us on 0800 073 8804, or use our online claims form, to reach us. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

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Support For Victims Of Sexual Harassment

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