An employer has a responsibility to prevent bullying and harassment in the workplace. They should have policies in place to protect you as the employee. Your employer should investigate any complaints about bullying or harassment promptly and objectively.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual Harassment is any form of unwanted verbal, nonverbal and/or physical contact of a sexual nature. Unlike bullying, sexual harassment only requires one act of unwanted conduct, as set out in the Employment Equality Act.
What is bullying?
Bullying is repeated inappropriate behaviour conducted by one or more persons at your place of work and/or during the course of your employment. Types of bullying in the workplace can include name calling, ‘water-cooler’ jokes or malicious comments, as well issues such as overbearing supervision and exclusion from lunches or meetings.
Process involved in bullying and sexual harassment claims
A number of conditions must be satisfied in order to proceed with a bullying and/or harassment claim. They include:-
- An employee must be diagnosed with a recognised psychiatric illness;
- The personal injury arising from the bullying and harassment must be reasonably foreseeable by the employer; and
- The personal injury must be caused by the workplace bullying and harassment.
- If all of these conditions are satisfied an employee should be entitled to bring a legal claim for personal injuries.
Types of sexual harassment
Sexual harassment at work
Sexual harassment of an employee in the workplace is against the law, under the Employment Equality Act 1998-2015. This includes actions or statements by the employer, co-workers and/or clients with a sexual connotation that interferes with a person’s work environment.
Sexual harassment in schools
One of the main difficulties with this type of harassment is that children are too embarrassed or too scared to report the harassment. This harassment can be physical, verbal or visual and the harassers can include fellow students, teachers and/or coaches.
Sexual harassment in hospitals and healthcare
There is a tendency to place a lot of trust in our hospital and healthcare professionals. This trust can be abused with incidents of sexual harassment of a one-time nature or continuous incidents. This could include unnecessary bodily contact or sexual advances within the clinical setting. Sexual harassment can have a detrimental effect on the patient’s health and well-being.
Sexual harassment in sports
Sexual harassment in this setting can lead to both physical and psychological harm which often has lifelong effects on the individual. A coach or fellow players can build up trust among each other which can lead to abuse and harassment that goes unreported due to the psychological harm it can cause.
Claims process for sexual harassment cases
Whether you have been sexually harassed or abused as a child or an adult, recently or some time ago, you may be entitled to bring a legal claim for personal injury. If the harassment or abuse occurred many years ago this does not prevent you from commencing proceedings due the serious effects these types of injuries can have on an individual. Normal time limits for commencing proceedings can be extended for several reasons in such circumstances. For this reason it is important to speak with a solicitor who specialises in sexual harassment and abuse claims. We can help you secure the most favourable outcome in any such a case.