Sexual harassment

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits three types of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The main type of sexual harassment is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature perpetrated on a particular person, for example unwelcome sexual advances.

Also prohibited is sex-related harassment, which means unwanted conduct related to the protected characteristic of sex. The unwanted conduct does not have to be directed towards the complainant or related to his or her actual sex. This could include telling jokes about women or making derogatory sexist remarks about women.

And less favourable treatment based on a person's rejection of or submission to sex-related harassment or sexual harassment is also unlawful. This could cover circumstances where a woman is rejected for promotion by her boss after turning down his sexual advances.


Oxfam’s ‘toxic work environment’ allowed sexual misconduct allegations to go unchecked

The charity Oxfam failed to tackle an environment that allowed sexual misconduct and bullying to go unchecked, according to an interim independent review.

Alex Salmond sexual harassment investigation ruled unlawful

8 Jan 2019

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has won his legal challenge against the way the Scottish government handled an investigation...

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Are UK employers lagging behind Europe in response to #MeToo?

20 Dec 2018

Only two-thirds of UK employers have taken action to prevent sexual harassment – a proportion that is significantly below the...

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Sexual harassment to be tackled under new 12-point plan

18 Dec 2018

The government is considering whether to introduce a new legal duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment at work as...

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Ted Baker boss accused of “forced hugging” and leading culture of harassment

3 Dec 2018

Hundreds of former or current staff at Ted Baker have signed a petition demanding an end to “forced hugging” by...

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Civil servants make hundreds of complaints about harassment

13 Nov 2018

Hundreds of civil servants have complained about sexual harassment or bullying but only a small number have faced disciplinary action...

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Google responds to walkout by ending ‘forced arbitration’

9 Nov 2018

Google has announced it is to end its controversial “forced arbitration” policy under which employees in the US must agree...

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Google workers stage global walkout

1 Nov 2018

Staff and freelancers at Google offices across the world are walking out in protest of the tech giant’s treatment of...

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Google dismisses 48 staff over sexual harassment

26 Oct 2018

Google has dismissed 48 people – including 13 senior managers – over claims of sexual harassment in the past two...

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Sir Philip Green named as businessman in sexual and racial harassment scandal

25 Oct 2018

Billionaire named as the man at the centre of the "British #MeToo" scandal...

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Government to examine use of NDAs in employment disputes

25 Oct 2018

Theresa May has said the government will bring forward a planned consultation on the use of non-disclosure agreements in employment...

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How technology can help employees speak up over misconduct

16 Oct 2018

Allegations of misconduct that enter the public eye can ruin corporate reputations and mark an end to executive careers. HR...

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Women subjected to ‘predatory’ behaviour by MPs

15 Oct 2018

Women working at the House of Commons were subjected to “predatory” contact and treated like “personal servants” by MPs, an...

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A third of people would challenge sexual harassment

2 Oct 2018

More than a third (35%) of people would speak up about sexual harassment, following a shift in the kind of...

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Four in 10 women sexually harassed at work

27 Sep 2018

Almost four in 10 (37%) women have been sexually harassed at work in the last 12 months, yet  organisations are...

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