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It was just a joke!

Sexual Harassment is no laughing matter.

Do you allow joke emails, inappropriate language and sexually explicit jokes in your workplace?

What could happen when you need to have a difficult conversation with an employee about performance, conduct or redundancy, you may find your employee suddenly take offence and harassment is alleged.

Employers need to avoid being taken to a tribunal for sexual harassment as there is no statutory cap on compensation payments.

So what is sexual harassment?

  1. Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature – violating someone’s dignity or creating an intimidating hostile, degrading or offensive environment - pictures of naked women in the workplace, sexually explicit jokes by email, inappropriate touching, making comments about a female employee’s chest, persistent requests for dates and sexual innuendos.

  2. Gender-related harassment - unwanted conduct related to an employee’s gender – hostile comments about childcare arrangements, leaving work early to care for children or the paternity of an unborn child.

  3. If an employee rejects sexual advances or submits to them, and is then treated less favourably by the harasser.

Unlawful sexual harassment can happen, not only in the place of work, but also at work related social events, training sessions and business trips

Employers should never ignore complaints like this as it could end up costing them dearly both in terms of cost and reputation.

Coulthard Human Resources offers help and advice on this an all matters relating to human resources and employment law. We can provide anti-harassment policies and training for managers and employees.

Contact Nichola Coulthard on 07942 541606 or email

Coulthard Human Resources helping businesses become great employers

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