Today’s media has thrust sexual harassment into the limelight with allegations against celebrities and parliamentary members accused of sexual harassment, on what seems to be a daily basis. What must be recognised from the media hype is that even in modern society, with laws which intend to protect, harassment is a very real thing. Bullying and harassment is behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated or offended. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010. Bullying is not against the law, but harassment is. This is when the unwanted behaviour is related to the 9 protected characteristics under The Equality and Diversity Act 2010.
How common is it?
A report conducted jointly by the TUC and Everyday Sexism found that 52% of women had experienced some form of sexual harassment at work, nearly a quarter had been touched without invitation, a fifth had experienced a sexual advance. An earlier study by the law firm Slater and Gordon found that 60% of women had experienced inappropriate behaviour and nearly half of respondents had been warned to expect problematic behaviour from a particular person when they arrived.
Is it just about women?
In short, no! Employers and employees often expect men to act as masculine as possible and anything that deviates from that is more likely to get them harassed. For example, men who take time off to care for their children may experience more gender harassment in the workplace as a result. Since women are expected to do most of the actual childcare, men may find their careers affected if they deviate from traditional gender roles. Also, men who openly support feminist causes or who are viewed as “un-masculine” may get harassed as well.
Probably the strongest predictor for sexual harassment in a workplace is whether there is widespread tolerance for this kind of treatment. At GB Training (UK) Ltd we have strong anti-harassment policies in place providing the best protection for men and women who are employed by us and learn with us.
What can we do about it?
The first thing we can do is to recognise that it could potentially happen in the place where we learn and work. Look out for the signs, see something, say something:
Sexual harassment can include: someone making sexually degrading comments or gestures
· your body being stared or leered at
· being subjected to sexual jokes or propositions
· e-mails or text messages with sexual content
· physical behaviour, including unwelcome sexual advances and touching
· someone displaying sexually explicit pictures in your space or a shared space, such as at work
What employees should do if they’re harassed
Employees should see if they can sort out the problem informally first. If they can’t, they should talk to their:
· human resources (HR) department
· trade union representative
If this doesn’t work, they can make a formal complaint using their employer’s grievance procedure. If this doesn’t work and they’re still being harassed, they can take legal action at an employment tribunal.
They could also call the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) helpline for advice:
Acas helpline Telephone: 0300 123 1100 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
It’s in our values!
We believe that we must strive to maintain the highest level of professional integrity in our day-to-day encounters, whilst providing a service which is always respectful towards Equality and Diversity.
Alternatively, if you feel you need support from our safeguarding team get in touch at: