Sexual Harassment FAQs & Resources

As a leading provider of HR Compliance eLearning, our experts are often asked about Sexual Harassment. We've collected all of those questions and answered them for you below...

Sexual Harassment FAQs

What is sexual harassment?

It’s any unwanted and repeated behaviour of a sexual nature. Gender is one of the 9 Protected Characteristics that are legally safeguarded by the Equality Act. So any unwanted or prejudiced behaviour that’s directed at someone because of their sex is a form of discrimination.

What different types of sexual harassment are there?

Sexual harassment can be split into many different specific categories, but generally they are split into 3 - verbal, non-verbal and physical. 

Some examples of these types of sexual harassment are:
Verbal Harassment 
This may involve sexually suggestive comments or questions. For example, making comments on your body image, appearance or name-calling. 
Sexual Jokes
If someone is making sexual jokes whether they are aimed at you or not, if they make you feel offended or intimidated then this would count as sexual harassment.
Sexual Advances
These unwanted advances are a form of sexual harassment. This includes ‘leering’ or unwanted sexual propositions through any form of communication (phone, email or face-to-face). 
Sexual Images 
Displaying sexual, explicit or pornographic images may cause offence to others. 
Other forms might include making conditions of employment dependent on sexual favours, requests of sexual favours, exposing oneself in front of others or discussing relations, stories or fantasies in the workplace.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is different from sexual harassment. The Met Police state that “The overall definition of sexual or indecent assault is an act of physical, psychological and emotional violation in the form of a sexual act, inflicted on someone without their consent. It can involve forcing or manipulating someone to witness or participate in any sexual acts.”

Do you have any examples of what is classed or not classed as sexual harassment?

Yes, see our YouTube page for scenarios of possible sexual harassment from our Sexual Harassment Awareness course

The Equality & Human Rights Commission also provide some situational examples of sexual harassment: 

  • A person imitates a sexual act at work that makes a colleague feel degraded.
  • An employer asks one of her workers if the worker is having sex with his boyfriend, which intimidates and humiliates him.
  • A hotel manager propositions one of his workers. She rejects his advances and he then refuses her a promotion.
  • An employee has had a relationship with his boss. When the employee ends the relationship, his boss spreads rumours about his sexual preferences at work.
  • A shop assistant is repeatedly subjected to comments about her appearance by a customer. The shop owner does not take any steps to prevent the situation from happening again.

 

What are the effects of sexual harassment?

There will be a wide variation of ways that sexual harassment can affect indidivduals depending on them and what has happened to them. Some of the effects may be:

  • Negative effects on physical and mental health 
  • Forced into changing job role, job results in unemployment or abandonment of careers
  • Reduced opportunities at work
  • Hostile and unpleasant working conditions

 

How should I make a complaint about sexual harassment?

Before making a complaint, employees should check their company policy surrounding sexual harassment (which all organisations should have) to see who they should file the complaint to. Many policies would suggest the complaint gets made in writing (letter or email) to their manager/supervisor but they may also advise that you go to a Human Resources team member with training for these situations or a trade union representative.

It is beneficial to keep notes of events of harassment, especially if it is particularly upsetting as evidence going forward with the complaint. 

FAQs regarding our Sexual Harassment course

How long does the course take?

This course will take 25 minutes to complete, including a 20 question test at the end providing your certificate.

Why is this training important?

Sexual harassment awareness training is essential for both employers and employees to ensure that the workplace is a safe place to be and that respect and dignity are promoted. Creating a positive workplace culture is important to everyone and our training provides employees and employers with the tools to identify, prevent and remove sexual harassment from the workplace. 

What approvals does this course have?

This course is CPD Accredited for your reassurance.

How long is my certificate valid for?

It is up to the training administrator as to when training needs to be refreshed. However, to stay up-to-date with legislation, we recommend that training should be renewed every year.​

What devices is this course available from?

Our courses can be completed on a range of devices, they’re compatible with Desktops, laptops, mobile phones, iPads and other tablets

Documents and resources

Sexual Harassment in UK Workplaces

Sexual Harassment is any unwanted & repeated behaviour of a sexual nature and it is a form of discrimination, which is illegal.

  • Defines exactly what sexual harassment is
  • Advises on what organisations can do to prevent, respond, and transform culture
  • Looks at why victims of Sexual Harassment don't come forward sooner
  • What you should do if you think or know you're being sexually harassed

White Paper