By Stephen Burke. Last Updated 28th September 2023. Welcome to our guide on sexually harassed at work claims. If you were the victim of any sort of sexual harassment in the workplace, you could seek compensation for harassment for the harm and damage you were caused. It is against the law to be sexually harassed at work whether the perpetrator is an employer, a work colleague or anyone else. This sexual harassment claims guide explains who could claim for harassment and how we could help.
There are many forms of sexual harassment, whether it is intentional or not. If you feel that you’ve been subjected to workplace sexual harassment, you should seek legal advice before further harm is done. Our guide provides essential advice on what you should do and who you should report an incident to. We cover the sort of evidence you need to support sexual harassment at work claims against another person as well as the sort of compensation you could be awarded.
If you are ready to start a sexual harassment workplace claim, please get in touch with a member of our claims team on 0800 073 8801 who would be happy to be of assistance.
If, however, you would like more information regarding claims after being sexually harassed at work, please click on the sections below.
Select a Section
- Sexual Harassment In Unsafe Working Environments
- Examples Of Workplace Sexual Harassment
- What Is My Employers Liability For Sexual Harassment?
- I Was Sexually Harassed At Work, What Should I Do?
- Civil Claims For Sexual Harassment And Abuse
- Employment Tribunal Sexually Harassed At Work Cases
- Workplace Sexual Harassment Compensation Calculator
- Additional Forms Of Damages You Could Claim
- No Win No Fee Claims For Sexual Harassment At Work
- Resources For Victims Of Workplace Sexual Harassment
Your employer has a duty to make sure a work environment is safe. The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 obliges employers to do all that is ‘reasonably practicable’ to ensure that employees are kept safe from harm in the workplace, which includes being protected from sexual harassment at work.
Employers must also assess risks in the workplace and set in place measures wherever possible to reduce the chances of harm coming to any staff. Should this not be ‘reasonably possible’, employers should minimise the risk as much as they can.
Recommendations and risk factors
The ETUC report recommends that sexual harassment in the workplace be handled much the same as any other risk/hazard. As such, risk assessments should be carried out to identify the risk and to then set in place measures to prevent this kind of unwanted behaviour happening.
Risk factors that employers should identify, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, could include the following:
- Imbalances in power
- Insecurity (job)
- Working alone
- Alcohol in the workplace
- Duties that involve customer contact
- Specific events where tensions may rise whether locally or nationally
- Not enough diversity in a workforce
- Workers placed on secondment
You could be the victim of workplace sexual harassment on just one occasion, or a perpetrator may sexually harass you in the workplace over a prolonged period. This could see them doing the following:
- Flirt, gesture, or make sexual comments regarding your body, your appearance or clothing and ask about your sex life.
- Tell offensive jokes of a sexual nature.
- Message, text or email you content of a sexual nature.
- Show you sexual or pornographic images.
- Possess sexual or pornographic images on their devices
- Touch you inappropriately against your will.
- Sexually assault or rape you.
Just because a person believes their behaviour is simply ‘banter’, a ‘joke’, or is just part of workplace culture, does not mean it is acceptable. Their behaviour is sexual harassment if it is deemed an unwanted action of a sexual nature.
The person who sexually harasses another person in the workplace is responsible for their behaviour/actions. However, an employer, too, could be held responsible for the actions of anyone who works for them. This is referred to as an employer having ‘vicarious liability’.
Employers are duty-bound to do everything in their power to ensure that workers and employees are kept safe and protected from being sexually harassed in the workplace and must set in place all reasonable measures to ensure this is so.
Employers are also duty-bound to take workplace sexual harassment complaints seriously and to do the following:
- Deal with a sexual harassment complaint fairly and with sensitivity whether it involves the person who filed the complaint, someone who witnessed the sexual harassment, or the person who is accused of workplace sexual harassment
If you were sexually harassed at work, and you need more advice on the sexually harassed at work claims process, please speak to one of our advisers today.
If you were or are, being sexually harassed in the workplace, your employer could be held liable for the harm you were caused providing you can show they did not take all reasonable steps to prevent this sort of behaviour from occurring.
Sexual harassment of any kind is unacceptable. Should you be harassed at work, you should tell whoever it is who is acting in this way towards you to stop. However, it is best to do this when you are in the company of someone else, whether a work colleague, friend or trade union representative if you are a member of a trade union. If you feel more comfortable in writing a request to stop harassing you, you can send a letter to the harasser, remembering to keep a copy for your own records.
Reporting sexual harassment
You should also report any sexual harassment to a person in charge of the workplace – providing they are not the person who is sexually harassing you. You should also do the following:
- Keep a record of the date, time, and location of when you were sexually harassed at work
- Get details of anyone who witnessed the incident/incidents.
- Keep copies of any correspondence relating to the workplace harassment which could include texts, emails and other online or social media content.
- Keep note of all the steps you took to resolve the issue.
- Keep all the responses you received both from your employer and your harasser.
All of the above would strengthen your case if you lodge a formal grievance, or you want to pursue a workplace sexual harassment claim through an employment tribunal.
It is also worth noting that you have every right to make sexually harassed at work claims against the person who harassed you in the workplace. However, if you are a member of a trade union, you should first talk to your representative before doing so. If you are not a union member, you should contact a solicitor who would provide essential legal advice on how best to proceed with a workplace sexual harassment claim.
What Should Your Employer Do?
Your employer is duty-bound to do the following to ensure you are protected from being sexually harassed in the workplace:
- Adopt zero-tolerance to sexual harassment in the workplace
- Set in place procedures to monitor and deal with all complaints
- Set in place staff training programmes that include the kind of behaviour that is not acceptable in the workplace
To find out more about sexual harassment at work claims and what you could be owed, read on.
You have the option to make a sexual harassment at work claim through a civil court to claim compensation for both the psychological and physical harm you may have been caused.
However, we fully appreciate that pursuing this type of claim can be a traumatic experience. We also understand that seeking compensation would not change how you feel about having been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. With this said, making a claim against the responsible party would ensure justice is carried out, and they are held accountable for their actions and behaviour towards you. The compensation a court may award you would also help pay for any counselling you need to get over the ordeal you were put through in the workplace.
If you are unsure whether you have the right to make an employment tribunal claim for sexual harassment in the workplace, you should seek advice from a legal expert before doing anything else. There is a strict time limit that must be respected which is set at three months less one day from the last date you were discriminated against or sexually harassed at work – this is also referred to as a ‘limitation date’.
It is worth noting the last date you were sexually harassed at work can often be difficult to identify. As such, it is crucial that you seek advice as soon as you are able so as to avoid falling foul of the deadline associated with this type of claim. You must also collect sufficient evidence to prove your sexual harassment claim in a tribunal. The sort of proof required is as follows:
- Witness statements if available
- Documentary evidence of sexual harassment
It is also worth noting that unlike an unfair dismissal claim, you could file a sexual harassment at work claim even if you have not worked for an employer for any specific length of time. In short, you have every right under the law to start the sexual harassment at work claims process on day one if you are the victim of this type of behaviour towards you.
The table below provides an idea of the amount of sexual harassment at work compensation you may receive in a successful claim. The amounts are taken from the Judicial College Guidelines and only cover any general damages you could be entitled to receive in a civil claim. General damages for sexually harassed at work claims will be determined based on the extent and severity of your injuries.
|Psychiatric damage – severe (a)
|£54,830 to £115,730
|Psychiatric damage – moderately severe (b)
|£19,070 to £54,830
|Psychiatric damage – moderate (c)
|£5,860 to £19,070
|Psychiatric damage – less severe (d)
|£1,540 to £5,860
|PTSD – Severe (a)
|£59,860 to £100,670
|PTSD – Moderately severe (b)
|£23,150 to £59,860
|PTSD – Moderate (c)
|£8,180 to £23,150
|PTSD. – Less severe (d)
|£3,950 to £8,180
On top of the general damages you could be awarded, you may be able to claim special damages which are covered in the next section.
Compensation For Harassment – CICA Examples
Instead of seeking compensation for sexual harassment in the workplace through a personal injury claim, you could alternatively make a criminal injury claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). You can claim through the CICA if the perpetrator is unknown or does not have the funds to compensate you.
The amount of compensation for harassment you could receive from the CICA will be based on the organisation’s tariff of injuries. The tariff includes compensation payments for different criminal injuries, whether it occurs during harassment at work or in other environments.
In the table below, we’ve included parts of the CICA tariff which cover compensation payments for sexual offences when the victim is any age (different payments are offered for certain offences if the victim was below the age of 18 at the time of the offence). You can claim for up to three injuries from the main tariff. You’re entitled to 100 per cent of the full tariff value for the highest-valued injury, followed by 30 per cent for the second-highest-value injury and 15 per cent for the third-highest-value injury.
|Type Of Offence
|Description Of Severity
|Standard Compensation Amount
|Minor Offence – Non-penetrative sexual physical act(s) over clothing
|Serious Offence – Non-penetrative sexual physical act(s) under clothing
|Severe Offence – Non-penile penetrative or oral-genital act(s)
|A pattern of repetitive frequent severe abuse that lasts for a period of up to 3 years
|A pattern of repetitive frequent severe abuse that lasts for 3 years or more
|Causes serious internal bodily injuries
|Non-consensual penile penetration of one or more of the vagina, anus or mouth
|By one attacker
|Non-consensual penile penetration of one or more of the vagina, anus or mouth
|Causes serious internal bodily injuries
If you make a sexual harassment claim through the civil court, you could be awarded both general damages for the harm/injury you were caused, and special damages for any out of pocket expenses you may have incurred because you were sexually harassed at work.
Should you have filed your claim through an employment tribunal, your employer may be instructed to pay you the following if your sexual harassment claim is successful:
- Money lost due to having been sexually harassed at work, which is referred to as financial losses, incurred up to when you could be likely to find a new job should you have lost your job.
- Distress and hurt you were caused due to sexual harassment in the workplace which is referred to as ‘injury to feelings’
- Aggravated damages if you were injured in any way whether physically or psychologically
If you need more information and advice on how much you could be awarded in a successful sexual harassment at work claim, please give a member of our claims team a call today.
Now we’ve explored the eligibility criteria for such claims, and explained how harassment claim amounts are calculated, you might be ready to make a claim.
If so, you could get help from one of our solicitors without having to pay them for their work until the end of your claim. If one of our solicitors offers to take your claim on under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), a type of No Win No Fee arrangement, you typically won’t pay for their work until your compensation comes through.
If your claim is successful, your solicitor would take their payment (a small percentage of your payout) from your settlement. If your claim was unsuccessful, under a CFA you would not usually have to pay them for their work.
To learn more about making a harassment compensation claim under such an agreement, or to check whether one of our solicitors could help you, please contact an advisor.
If you would like further information on the level of compensation you could receive in a successful sexual harassment claim, please follow the link below:
Sexual Harassment Victim Support
If you were sexually harassed in the workplace and need advice and support, please click on the link below:
For more information on the types of sexual harassment and discrimination, please click on the link provided below:
If you would like to ask an advisor any questions about sexually harassed at work claims, then you are welcome to get in touch with us using the contact details featured in this guide.