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.


Senior solicitor groped his secretary and told racist jokes

A solicitor who ran through the offices of his employer with a pretend Ku Klux Klan hood has been found guilty of sexual harassment and racist behaviour.

Complaints ‘not taken seriously’ under Commons grievance scheme

13 Oct 2020

Parliamentary staff are being discouraged from pursuing complaints and have been given incorrect advice by the grievance system introduced to...

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Sexual harassment in a pandemic: why staff are more vulnerable

2 Oct 2020

With fewer people in the office and the increased likelihood of lone working and online abuse, there is a heightened risk of sexual harassment.

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Sexual harassment ‘endemic’ within GMB Union

3 Sep 2020

The GMB union, one of the UK’s largest trade unions, has been branded ‘institutionally sexist’ by a barrister leading an...

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Contractor loses sexual discrimination case against HSBC

30 Jul 2020

A worker who claimed she was forced out of her role at HSBC after having an affair with a superior...

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Senior lawyer fined for kissing junior colleague

16 Jun 2020

A top lawyer has been ordered to pay almost £100,000 for professional misconduct after he kissed a junior solicitor in...

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Tube worker wins £14k after dismissal delays

19 May 2020

A London Underground worker sacked for sexual harassment has been awarded £14,500 for his employer’s failure to conduct a timely...

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Barclays not liable for sexual assaults committed by contractor

2 Apr 2020

Barclays Bank is not liable for the numerous alleged sexual assaults committed by a self-employed doctor who had been contracted...

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Save the Children’s handling of harassment complaints ‘let down’ staff

5 Mar 2020

The way Save the Children UK handled harassment allegations made against senior employees had a “corrosive impact” on its internal...

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Aid agencies urged to join staff misconduct data sharing scheme

25 Feb 2020

More UK aid agencies are being encouraged to join a data-sharing scheme which helps stop perpetrators of sexual abuse from...

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Diversity & Inclusion: Sign up to our free e-newsletter now

12 Feb 2020

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Independent panel will tackle Parliament bullying and harassment claims

11 Feb 2020

An independent panel for examining claims of bullying and sexual harassment by members of Parliament is to be created, alongside...

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Acas issues guidance on use of non-disclosure agreements

10 Feb 2020

Non-disclosure agreements must not be used to stop someone from reporting discrimination or sexual harassment or from blowing the whistle...

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Managers sweep harassment under the carpet, says CIPD report

21 Jan 2020

Almost a quarter of employees believe that – despite the rise of movements such as #MeToo – bullying and harassment...

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Workers speaking up over sexual misconduct at law firms

20 Jan 2020

Sexual misconduct complaints and cases rise sharply as #MeToo wields influence.

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