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‘Good girl’ comments were sexual harassment

Posted on: May 26th, 2022 by Halborns Limited

A recent tribunal decision found that an employee being repeatedly called a ‘good girl’ by her male boss amounted to sexual harassment.

Background 

Over a three-month period, the employee was repeatedly called a ‘good girl’ by her older male boss. The tribunal held that this behaviour amounted to sexual harassment as referring to a woman in this way was “demeaning” and used as a way to reinforce his authority over her.

Practical takeaways

Adequate training – another reminder that training on harassment needs to be robust and regularly refreshed. The tribunal found the employer’s training to be too simplistic and showed no commitment to genuinely tackling harassment. They also noted that acceptable language evolves over time meaning your training should keep pace to appropriately educate employees on what is and isn’t acceptable.

Tick-box policy – bullying, harassment and inclusivity policies must be dynamic and engaging. In this case, the tribunal specifically called out the employer’s out of date policies as simply “paper commitments to equality issues”.

Our survey – your thoughts

Aviva’s CEO was recently told by shareholders that she’s “not the man for the job” and she should be “wearing trousers”. We’d like to hear your experiences with sexual harassment and sexist comments in the workplace if you’re comfortable sharing – here’s our short survey.

Our survey is entirely anonymous and any responses gathered will only be used by us for the purposes of our continued employment law updates on this topic.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (26 May 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.