Cheshire employment law firm offers advice for employers on sexual harassment

August 8, 2018

A leading Warrington employment lawyer is urging employers to ensure that effective measures are in place to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.

The call comes after the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) released a report, Turning the tables: ending sexual harassment at work, which identified that employers are not doing enough to protect their employees from sexual harassment.

It identified widespread failure by employers to appropriately tackle the issue.

Latham Parry, partner and head of employment law at Watsons Solicitors, which represents both employees and employers in such matters, said: “The report identifies various failures and suggests that employers are simply not doing enough to protect their staff, as well as not dealing with complaints adequately or fairly.

“It’s a hot topic and high-profile cases are giving more people the confidence to come forward.

“As well as providing a better and safer workplace, employers could also minimise the risk of having to deal with complaints and costly tribunal claims. Employers can be held responsible for the actions of their employees which are carried out in the ‘course of their employment’ – this obviously includes normal working hours but can extend to other work events and work nights out.

Latham, who has more than a decade of experience in employment law and joined Watsons as a partner in 2015, offered this advice for protecting against, and dealing with sexual harassment cases.

He added: “The key message employers should get across to staff is that sexual harassment will not be tolerated.

“Worryingly, some people don’t know what can amount to sexual harassment. For example, what was considered acceptable 50 years ago is not acceptable today. Society has changed.

“In addition, sexual harassment is not defined only by the intent of the conduct, but also by reference to the effect on the victim. Language or actions which someone might consider harmless can still constitute harassment if it nevertheless creates a degrading or offensive environment for another person, or if their dignity is violated.

“Five steps which can be taken to help protect staff, create a better working environment, and reduce the risk of having to deal with costly claims are:”

  1. Have a clear policy in place. Harassment is often covered in a bullying and harassment policy, or perhaps an equal opportunities policy, but make specific reference to sexual harassment and set out the potential consequences for breaching the policy.
  2. Raise awareness and ensure that members of staff read and understand the policy. Use practical examples of what can constitute sexual harassment so there can be no uncertainty – what someone might consider to be ‘banter’ can be taken very differently by another person and can still amount to harassment.
  3. Encourage the reporting of unacceptable behaviour and provide support to those who speak out. Make sure any complaint is properly investigated and dealt with, and seek advice from your HR team or an employment lawyer if in any doubt about what to do.
  4. Provide training to managers so they can identify unacceptable behaviour and help to handle situations properly, helping to change workplace culture.
  5. Discipline the perpetrator appropriately. It’s important to demonstrate the consequences of not adhering to the policy otherwise people will lose trust and confidence in the employer.

 

If you have any queries regarding sexual harassment, please speak to our employment team on 01925 571 212.

Alternatively, click for more information about the employment law services Watsons Solicitors can offer.

Contact Us

If you are interested or require any information on any of our services then please get in touch for an appointment on:

 01925 571 212
Mon-Fri: 9am - 5pm

Latest News

Compromise is the perfect solution to flexible working requests

A Cheshire-based employment law specialist believes compromise is the ideal solution to flexible working requests. The goalposts shifted considerably during the coronavirus pandemic with almost half of adults working from home. According to data from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN), more than eight in 10 workers who had to do their job from home […]

Ageing population highlights importance of writing a will

A Cheshire-based wills and probate solicitor thinks that there is no time like the present for getting your affairs in order and writing a will with the age of the population on the rise. Recently released figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the number of people in England and Wales aged […]

Family solicitor Lauren celebrates anniversary with step towards key accreditation

Lauren Soutar marked her one-year anniversary at Watsons Solicitors by taking a significant step closer to acquiring the Law Society’s Children Law Accreditation. Tuesday 18 October was exactly one-year since Lauren joined the Warrington-based firm as a family lawyer. By the time that date came around, Lauren had undertaken the Children Law scheme’s mandatory three-day […]

Trainee solicitor Hannah shortlisted for top Warrington Business Awards honour

Hannah Dale and Watsons Solicitors are celebrating after the trainee was shortlisted for the Apprentice of the Year honour at the prestigious Warrington Business Awards. Hannah is on the three-strong shortlist for the award which is open to any individual who has undergone a full-time training position during the period from January 2020 to September […]

Watsons Solicitors
Lexel Accreditation
Children Law Accredited
Conveyancing Quality

Watsons Solicitors is a trading name of Watsons Solicitors Warrington LLP a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales registered number OC386012 whose registered office is 13 Bold Street, Warrington, WA1 1DJ.

Watsons Solicitors Warrington LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority number 598547.

Website managed by Outwrite PR, an online reputation management agency
envelope-oclock-ophonefax linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram