Theresa Carling, from our experienced Employment Law Team comments:

"Shocking new figures have been published today by the TUC showing that over 50% of female staff have suffered sexual harassment in their workplace which in this supposedly modern age of equality seems incredible.

We have had experience of both sides of the fence here at Tilly Bailey & Irving. Both dealing with a claimant who had a genuine claim against her employers and secured tens of thousands of pounds in damages, and defending an innocent employer who had false and groundless allegations brought against the business owner by a former employee. Mercifully, the employee withdrew her claim before a hearing, clearly not relishing the scrutiny that her claims would undergo in a tribunal setting.

Allegations of this type should always be considered (and pursued) with grave seriousness, as claims will inevitably impact on the individual and the organisation. While there is often a description of ‘banter’ for inappropriate behaviour, most tribunal panels will never accept that as an excuse for sexist behaviour. Equal opportunities policies are essential to give employees a place to go to pursue complaints and set out how an organisation will deal with this very difficult area as employees should never have to suffer in silence."