Calling a colleague a “bald (expletive)” during an argument was found to be sex-related harassment in a recent tribunal decision.
An employee called a “bald (expletive)” by his supervisor has successfully sued his employer for sex-related harassment. The tribunal held that the “bald” insult was “inherently related to sex” – women can experience baldness, but it’s much more prevalent in men and this was sufficient to amount to sex-related harassment.
People policies – it goes without saying that ensuring you have the right policies and processes in place is the starting point – think ‘dignity and respect at work’, ‘bullying and harassment’ (we’ve got everything you need on Intelligent Employment).
Training – policies need to be trained on and communicated regularly to be effective in setting appropriate boundaries. Employees should be aware that just because something can be experienced by both males and females, tribunals (like in this case) will be willing to uphold claims for sex-related harassment if it’s more prevalent in one sex than the other. It’s also a worthwhile reminder that managers can be sued personally for harassment so training provides a great opportunity to avoid personal liability.
Zero-tolerance – harassment without consequence breeds a culture of further harassment. Even with the right policies and training an acceptance of harassment is highly likely to lead to claims and compensation. Act quickly, investigate thoroughly and deal with all harassment concerns consistently.
We can help to make sure you’ve got the right policies, training and advice in place – get in touch to find out how.