Sexual Harassment Solicitor - Employment Compensation Claim Lawyers

Sexual harassment claims can often be seen as subjective which is why it is extremely important that you retain the services of an experienced sexual harassment solicitor.

UK law defines sexual harassment as unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature whilst in the course of employment. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Employment Rights Act 1996 provide employees with protection from this type of behaviour. Our sexual harassment solicitors can help victims to claim compensation against their persecutors including co-workers and management in the Employment Tribunal.

Our sexual discrimination solicitors know that the definition of sexual harassment is a difficult concept dependent on a subjective test by the victim. What may be a serious problem to one person may be more acceptable to another. In its broadest terms sexual harassment may be described as "unwanted conduct based on sex affecting the dignity of a person at work". If an individual finds the conduct of another person to be offensive they should make their views known to the perpetrator and to the employer and if in due course it continues the victim should instruct an employment solicitor to make a sexual harassment compensation claim to the Employment Tribunal. The employer may be held liable for the acts of other employees if they have failed to adequately protect the victim from unwarranted behaviour. It should be clearly noted that the victim of sexual harassment may be male or female and the perpetrator may be male or female with unwanted same sex conduct being considered just as offensive. Behaviour that will justify a sexual harassment compensation claim may come in many forms which not only includes blatant physical contact such as touching or fondling but may also consist of :-

  • sexual assault
  • requesting sexual favours
  • sexual violence
  • sexual gestures or remarks
  • threats of sexual assault
  • unwanted fondling or touching
  • threats of sexual violence
  • telling inappropriate blue jokes.
  • viewing pornographic websites
  • displaying pornographic images
  • unwanted sexual advances
  • lewd or vulgar comments
  • making sexual innuendos
  • forwarding inappropriate emails.
  • badgering for attention

Our sexual harassment solicitors deal with claims on behalf of employees relating to employment matters. Our solicitors are experts in their field and where possible they negotiate settlement failing which they will make application to the Employment Tribunal to resolve any dispute.


Presently there is no specific statute that covers sexual harassment. Rather, the Employment Tribunal renders decisions in these cases using the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the EC Equal Treatment Directive 76/207. Occasionally some incidents of sexual harassment are so serious as to amount to a criminal offence under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997. Criminal harassment cases can also be brought by a solicitor to the County Court as a civil claim for damages.

The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 makes it illegal for employers to subject an employee to sexual harassment and it includes those who are undergoing gender re-assignment. The legislation applies without time limit on the length of employment and regardless of the number of hours worked. Compensation that may be awarded is unlimited in amount. This statute also protects those who are :-

  • in a business partnership
  • members of a trade union
  • members of a professional association
  • members of a body that issues qualifications required to carry out a trade or profession
  • Make a Complaint

    Employers should be aware of the potential for sexual harassment compensation claims and in their own interests should have a policy regarding this problem which provides guidelines to staff and management about how to resolve any particular situation without delay as soon as it crops up.

    Employees should first take complaints to the employer who should not ignore a complaint of sexual harassment. In the event of no satisfactory solution being offered, victims should contact a sexual harassment solicitor as soon as possible. The employer is responsible for paying any compensation awarded in a sex harassment compensation claim to the claimant by the Employment Tribunal. Sometimes employers are responsible for making the payment even when they were not the ones who actually committed the sex harassment. Employers have a legal duty to act on every complaint of sex harassment. If the employer fails to do so, then that employer can be held legally accountable for the acts of their employees. By law, every employer must have a policy about sex harassment in the workplace. Employers must also provide guidelines for dealing with any inappropriate incidents that may occur. Every employee should be made of aware of the policy. There is no limit as to the maximum amount of compensation that can be awarded for sex harassment compensation claims. Moreover, the Employment Tribunal can elect to award aggravated damages in cases where it feels that exceptionally offensive behaviour has occurred.

    In its more serious forms this behaviour can give rise to a civil or criminal claim for assault. Such incidents, especially any also involving violence, should be reported to the police immediately with a view to prosecution in the Magistrates Court or Crown Court. Victims of these offences should also seek immediate advice from a solicitor.

    Harassment Outside of the Workplace

    If sexual harassment occurs outside work hours but at an event connected, even vaguely, to work it may be possible to make a solicitors claim for compensation to the Employment Tribunal which considers these events to have occurred in an extension to the workplace. Office parties or meeting with work colleagues for a drink in a pub after work of even a works based dinner party could be considered as a workplace extension thereby making the employer liable for any unlawful actions.


    Though the Employment Tribunal (ET) is a public forum, the anonymity of the individual bringing the claims can be protected. Upon application by a solicitor, the ET has the discretion to make a "restricted reporting order" in order to protect the identity of the claimant in cases that involve particularly explicit conduct.

    Equal Opportunities Commission

    Equal Opportunities Commission provides guidance to employers to help them prevent and deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. Below are some of the suggestions offered by the Equal Opportunities Commission:

    • Implement a clear, comprehensive sexual harassment policy.
    • Continue to monitor and update the policy to ensure that it remains effective.
    • Be sure that everyone in the workplace is aware of the policy and thoroughly understands it.
    • Take complaints of sexual harassment seriously and be sensitive to the serious impact it can have on the victim.
    • Lead by example and hold supervisors and managers personally responsible.

    Categories of sexual harassment

    There are two basic categories that enable a sexual harassment solicitor to take legal action for damages in the Employment Tribunal :-

    1. Unwelcome conduct based on gender :-

      This type of behaviour must be engaged in with “the intent or effect of violating dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.” The behaviour does not necessarily have to be sexual in nature and can refer to all types of bullying. However, it must be shown that the offending individual undertook the behaviour based solely on the victim’s gender.

    2. Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature :-

      This category covers all types of conduct, including physical, verbal and non-verbal behaviour. Whatever the conduct, it must be done with “the intent or effect of violating dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.”

    Errant Behaviour

    Any situation that involves physical contact is a criminal offence and should be reported to the proper authorities immediately. Certain behaviour that does not involve physical contact may also be deemed unlawful :-

    • demeaning remarks about an individual’s appearance
    • indecent comments
    • queries about an individual’s sexual habits
    • demands or requests for sexual favours

    Employers responsibility

    An employer may be held legally responsible even though the unwelcome behaviour took place somewhere other than the workplace if the Employment Tribunal determines the event to be an “extension” to the workplace. Even incidents occurring at an event with a vague workplace connection could be grounds for a solicitors sexual harassment compensation claim.