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Sex Harassment Solicitors - Sheffield Employment Claims


 
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Subjective Test

Sexual harassment has been defined as 'unwanted conduct based on sex affecting the dignity of women and men at work'. The test is subjective and it is up to the recipient to decide whether or not the conduct is acceptable and what may be acceptable to one person is not necessarily acceptable to another. If the recipient indicates that the conduct to which they are subjected is not acceptable and that conduct continues then it may be possible to take the matter before the Sheffield Employment Tribunal.

No Specific Legislation

There is no specific sexual harassment legislation and the Sheffield Employment Tribunal must decide these issues using the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the EC Equal Treatment Directive 76/207 however more serious instances of this behaviour can also be an imprisonable criminal offence under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997 and can also lead to a civil claim for damages in the Sheffield County Court.

Unlawful Demands or Behaviour

Potential unlawful behaviour may include demands for sex, sexual favours or sex acts of any description, indecent assault including unwelcome touching on top or under clothing or suggestive behaviour, including indecent exposure or threats of exposure within the work place. In addition more minor acts can be deemed to be sexual harassment including suggestive looks, verbal threats of a sexual nature, indecent suggestions or provocative language and remarking about a persons appearance in an uninvited way. Items which have in the past been deemed to be unacceptable by the Sheffield Employment Tribunal include :-

  • requests for sexual favours
  • suggestive remarks or gestures
  • fondling or touching
  • insensitive jokes
  • accessing pornographic websites
  • unwelcome advances
  • lewd comments
  • innuendos
  • forwarding inappropriate emails
  • pestering for attention
  • threats of, or actual, sexual violence
  • displays of unacceptable material including pin-up calendars or graffiti

Anonymity Guaranteed

The Sheffield Employment Tribunal is a public forum and in claims which involve explicit misconduct the tribunal may, at its own discretion, make a 'restricted reporting order' which protects the identity of the person making the claim.

Employers Responsibilities

An employer in Sheffield may be held responsible for sexual harassment of one employee by another employee if there is a failure to take action after receipt of a complaint. It is illegal for an employer to ignore a complaint and every employer is required by law to have a policy, which must be brought to the attention of all employees, offering guidance on how to deal with these illegal acts. There is no limit to the amount of compensation that can be awarded in discrimination cases and the Employment Tribunal can make a substantial award for aggravated damages if the behaviour has been particularly offensive.

Equal Opportunities Commission

The Equal Opportunities Commission makes a number of suggestions to employers which are :-

 
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  • develop a clear policy for preventing and tackling this type of behaviour
  • ensure that everyone is aware of and understands the policy
  • treat any incidents seriously as it can have a severe impact on the well being of victims
  • lead by example and make managers and supervisors personally responsible
  • continuously monitor the policy implementation to ensure that it is working properly

 

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