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Sexual Harassment at Work

Sexual harassment occurs when someone receives unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature from another person. Sexual harassment at work covers a range of different categories of people including: 

  • Employees 

  • Workers 

  • Contractors 

  • Job applicants 

  • Self-employed people hired to perform some work 

If you need advice or representation on any Employment Law matter, click below for a free initial consultation with one of our expert Employment solicitors.


What is sexual harassment? 

In order for sexual harassment to have occurred, the unwanted behaviour must have either: 

  • Violated the persons dignity, regardless of whether this was intentional 

  • Created a hostile environment for the person, again regardless of whether it was intentional 

Unwanted means unwelcome or uninvited, although the person who feels harassed does not need to expressly object to the conduct for it to be unwanted. 

Anybody that sexually harasses another person at work is responsible for their own actions. However, the employers must also make sure they prevent this from happenings and can be held vicariously liable if they do not do everything possible to protect their staff from sexual harassment.  

Sexual harassment can be a one-off event or a pattern of behaviour. It does not need to be in person and can occur over email or social media. It also does not need to be a physical act to be regarded as sexual harassment. The main issue is the effect on the person that is receiving the behaviour, regardless of what the intention of the person that is doing the action.  

Sexual harassment can be by someone of the same sex or someone of the opposite sex. It covers anyone that an employee comes into contact with during their work, for example: 

  • Someone in the same team 

  • A manager or supervisor 

The information on this website is intended as a guide and does not constitute legal advice. Vardags do not accept liability for any errors in the information on this website, nor any losses stemming from reliance upon the statements made herein. All articles and pages aim to reflect the legal position at time they were published, and may have been rendered obsolete by subsequent developments in the law. Should you require specialist advice, tailored to your situation, please see how Vardags can help you.

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