Claiming For Sexually Harassed At Work Claim Cases UK – How To Claim For Stress Due To Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Sexually harassed at work claims

Sexually harassed at work

By Mark Ainsdale. Last Updated 23rd April 2021. 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 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.

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.

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A Guide On Workplace Sexual Harassment Cases And Claims

You could be entitled to compensation if you are, or have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment, and the same applies if a family member is subjected to this type of workplace abuse. UK law makes it an offence to sexually harass anyone at work whether the actions are intentional or not. Our guide to workplace sexual harassment compensation claims provides essential reading on the sexually harassed at work claims process and the evidence required to support a claim against a third party.

We also cover the following:

  • The consequences of being sexually harassed at work and how it can mean a working environment is unsafe.
  • How sexual harassment and discrimination at work is against the law.
  • The guide provides examples of sexual harassment in the workplace and employers’ liability.
  • How sexual harassment can impact a victim’s life.
  • How to claim compensation through the civil courts and how to file a claim through an employment tribunal.
  • We offer a general idea of the amount of sexual abuse compensation a victim may be awarded and the type of damages that could be included in a sexual abuse claim.
  • We provide information on how Contingency Fee Agreements work and how we deal with this type of claim.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team about sexually harassed at work claims, please get in touch today.

What Does It Mean To Be Sexually Harassed At Work?

If you are subjected to workplace sexual harassment, it means the perpetrator’s behaviour towards you is done so in an ‘unwanted manner’ and is of a sexual nature. This type of unwanted behaviour can happen to anyone, whether a man, woman, people of any orientation or gender. The perpetrator can be someone of the same sex, opposite sex, or someone of any gender identity.

Both employees and workers could be the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, and the perpetrators could be anyone they have contact with during the course of their jobs. This includes the following:

  • People they work with
  • Customers/clients
  • Members of the public
  • Contractors
  • Managers/supervisors/people who hold a position of authority within a workplace
  • High profile/influential people

As previously touched upon, sexual harassment in the workplace does not have to be intentional for it to be an offence because it is the effect the behaviour has on you that counts. Continue reading to find out more about your rights regarding sexual harassment at work claims. 

Sexual Harassment In Unsafe Working Environments

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.

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

Sexual Harassment And Discrimination At Work

It is worth noting that sexual harassment is deemed different to ‘harassment’ in the workplace due to a person’s sex. However, a person may be subjected to both sorts of workplace harassment simultaneously. And this could result in the victim making sexually harassed at work claims. An example of this being as follows:

  • There is only one woman in a workplace team, and the male supervisor continually makes specific comments about females which she finds offensive. This type of behaviour would be deemed harassment due to a person’s sex.
  • When the supervisor begins commenting on the woman’s body and starts to rest a hand on her arm which makes the only woman in the workplace team feel uncomfortable, this would be deemed as workplace sexual harassment.

Should you have been, or are being subjected to this type of unwanted behaviour in the workplace, you could file a complaint about both types of harassment. To speak to a member of our claims team about workplace sexual harassment, please get in touch today.

Sexual Harassment In Offensive Workplaces

Any sort of harassment in a workplace presents a real issue for those in charge. If the work environment is hostile in any way, the effects can be far-reaching for employees and the business as a whole.

Something as innocent as ‘teasing’ could affect you in a negative way, and this includes when someone sexually harasses you believing it to be a joke. It could include any of the following:

  • Rude comments
  • Offensive cartoon images
  • Unwanted, offensive jokes of a sexual nature
  • Commenting on a person’s gender, race, religious beliefs, race, or background

The effects of being sexually harassed at work could lead to poor performance, and may even result in you wanting to leave your job. In short, if a work environment is offensive, you are far less likely to enjoy your working life, and it could result in you developing other issues too.

Examples Of Workplace Sexual Harassment

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.

What Is  My Employers Liability For Sexual Harassment?

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.

Impacts Of Sexual Harassment On Victims

If you were the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, the effects it can have on you could be long-lasting and devastating. You could feel uncomfortable for a short period of time, or the harm you were caused could last much, much longer. Negative feelings/symptoms can impact your working and home life.

The sort of feelings you could experience having been sexually harassed in the workplace could include the following:

  • Embarrassment
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Self-consciousness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Appetite loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor performance at work

If you need advice on what to do when sexually harassed in the workplace, please contact a member of our team who would be happy to offer essential support.

I Was Sexually Harassed At Work, What Should I Do?

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.

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

Sexually harassed at work statistics

If you’re looking for more information about sexually harassed at work claims, you aren’t alone. Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), the government-funded public body that provides advice to employers and employees, commissioned a poll in 2018 around sexual harassment in the workplace. They found that:

  • One-third of people who responded to the survey thought that sexual harassment in the workplace had decreased over the last 5 years. Another third thought that it had increased, while 12% believed it remained at the same level.
  • Only 36% of workers who responded to the survey said that they’d be “very likely” to report sexual harassment in the workplace if they saw it happen.
  • Fewer men said that they’d be “very likely” to report sexual harassment that they personally experienced than women. (32% compared to 44%)
  • Of the people who said they’d be likely to report an incident of sexual harassment, 71% said that they’d report it to their line manager. Only 35% said they’d feel comfortable reporting it to another manager in the workplace.
  • 18% of workers said that they would be unlikely to report an incident of sexual harassment that they experienced themselves.
  • 60% of respondents said they believed that better training on sexual harassment for all staff would be effective at preventing it from happening.

To find out more about sexual harassment at work claims and what you could be owed, read on.

Civil Claims For Sexual Harassment And Abuse

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.

Employment Tribunal Sexually Harassed At Work Cases

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.

Workplace Sexual Harassment Compensation Calculator

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. 

Injury TypeCompensation
Psychiatric damage - less severe£1,440 to £5,500
Psychiatric damage - moderate£5,500 to £17,900
Psychiatric damage - moderately severe£17,900 to £51,460
Psychiatric damage - severe£51,460 to £108,620

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. 

Additional Forms Of Damages You Could Claim

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.

How We Handle Sexually Harassed At Work Cases

Our team of legal experts have many decades of experience in representing people who pursue claims after having been sexually harassed in the workplace. One of our personal injury lawyers would represent you by offering No Win No Fee terms once they have determined you have strong sexually harassed at work claims against a responsible party. We would also offer the following:

  • Assistance in gathering essential evidence to support a sexual harassment at work claim
  • Our promise to work hard to ensure you receive an acceptable level of compensation

For more information on how we can be of assistance in making sexual harassment in the workplace claim, please speak to one of our friendly advisers today.

Contingency Fee Agreement Claims For Sexual Harassment At Work

You have the option of making a No Win No Fee claim against a responsible party or you could file your case through the civil court. You could also choose to file a sexual harassment at work claim through an employment tribunal in which case the agreement is known as a Contingency Fee Agreement. Entering into this type of contract also entitles you to only pay the agreed success fee when you win your claim against a responsible party. 

If your case is unsuccessful and you are not awarded sexual harassment at work compensation, the success fee would not be payable, nor would any of the fees your solicitor has incurred in representing you.

There are many benefits to these two types of No Win No Fee agreements, including:

  • No fees to pay at the outset of the claim.
  • No fees to pay while the case is ongoing.

To find out more about our No Win No Fee agreements, or for more information on sexually harassed at work claims, please speak to one of our advisers today.

Talk To Us About Your Sexual Harassment At Work Case

If you feel you are ready to begin the claims process after being sexually harassed at work, please get in touch with one of our advisers today. Our lines are open 24/7 and our team of advisers are ready to take your call.

You can get in touch via phone on 0800 073 8801

Drop us a message via email by clicking here.

Alternatively, you can use our online chat line by clicking the live chat button, bottom right.

Resources For Victims Of Workplace Sexual Harassment

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 compensation calculator

Claiming compensation for stress at work 

Can I claim if I was assaulted at work? 

Sexual Harassment Victim Support

If you were sexually harassed in the workplace and need advice and support, please click on the link below:

Victim support

For more information on the types of sexual harassment and discrimination, please click on the link provided below:

Discrimination/Sexual Harassment, the different types

Sexual Harassment FAQs

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is when another person makes someone uncomfortable through unnecessary and unacceptable behaviour, either physically or psychologically, which can violate the victim’s dignity or creates a notion of not feeling safe.

What Are Examples Of Sexual Harassment?

Examples could include lewd comments on one’s appearance, invading personal space or making comments about sexual intercourse involving themselves and the recipient.

Can Sexual Harassment Occur At Work?

Yes. It is unfortunately common for sexual harassment to happen at the workplace.

Is Sexual Harassment Intentional?

Not necessarily. But if the victim feels that they are receiving sexual harassment regardless of intention, they have the right to speak out.

Does Sexual Harassment Involve Bullying?

It could do, especially if it involves senior team members, but not always. But it could continue even after the victim rejects the instigator’s sexual advances.

What Are The Three Types Of Harassment?

These are physical, verbal and written.

Are Sexual Harassment Cases Difficult To Receive Compensation From?

They could be since it relies on testimonials from those involved, but situations involving physical harassment are more likely to produce the evidence required that results in a settlement agreement.

Could An Employee Be Dismissed For Sexual Harassment?

Yes, if those in charge believe that the employee has behaved poorly in such a manner that makes fellow colleagues uncomfortable.

Thank you for reading our guide on claims following being sexually harassed at work. We hope you have learned a lot about making sexually harassed at work claims.