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.


Salesperson asked ‘can I get you pregnant?’ wins sex discrimination claim

A woman who was subjected to sexual comments has won her claim for sex discrimination, harassment and constructive dismissal.

What can employers do to provide safe workplaces for women?

12 Apr 2021

With concerns heightened around the safety of woman after the death of Sarah Everard, how can employers create safe spaces for women?

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Oxfam suspended from UK funding amid new misconduct claims

8 Apr 2021

Charity has been suspended from accessing UK aid funding again after new allegations of sexual exploitation and bullying emerged.

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CPD: supporting transgender people in work

1 Apr 2021

In the second article in her two-part series, Dawn Wyvern looks at practical ways employers, with the help of occupational...

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Sellafield accused of ‘toxic culture’ of bullying

10 Mar 2021

A 'toxic culture' of sexual harassment, racial abuse and homophobic bullying has been uncovered at nuclear site Sellafield.

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LGBT+ workers experience higher levels of conflict at work

11 Feb 2021

More than four in 10 LGB+ workers have experienced a work-based conflict in the last year, rising to 55% for trans workers.

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Employment law in limbo: Key proposals to resurrect in 2021

4 Feb 2021

Many proposed employment law changes that the government has put forward in the last few years have stalled, mainly as...

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

23 Jan 2021

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Pay issues, harassment and safety risks blight cleaning sector

19 Jan 2021

Issues with pay, dangerous working conditions and sexual harassment are ‘endemic’ in the cleaning sector, and organisations – especially client...

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Female security guard wins payout after being called ‘Mr’

30 Nov 2020

A female security guard has won a £2,000 payout for sexual harassment after being repeatedly addressed as Mr – including in court papers.

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CIPD ACE: Focus on listening skills to encourage ‘speak up’ culture

12 Nov 2020

To create a true ‘speak up’ culture, organisations need to stop trying to fix individuals’ behaviours and focus on how...

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Senior solicitor groped his secretary and told racist jokes

23 Oct 2020

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.

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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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