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Harassment whether by men on women, men on men, women on men or women on women is in the news every day. Whether you a potential US Supreme court judge, a film producer or just a manager in an organisation harassment is unacceptable. Legally it is defined as ‘unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.’ It is isn’t always easy to define what unacceptable conduct is some people’s threshold tolerance is higher than others. Equal opportunities and equality training may not always fit the bill.

I have came across these guidelines by Netflix which even if you don’t have a policy is a good starting point to set some guidelines for your organisation.

  • Don’t look at anyone for longer than five seconds
  • Shout stop don’t do that again if a colleague has been inappropriate
  • Don’t give lingering hugs or touch anyone for a lengthy period of time
  • Don’t flirt
  • Don’t ask a colleague more than once if they have said no
  • Steer clear colleague of a colleague once they have said they are not interested in you
  • Don’t ask for a colleague’s phone number
  • Report a colleague who has given anyone unwanted attention

You need to be careful when confronting these situations. Get it wrong and you could be on the receiving end of a discrimination claim. The threshold for a disgruntled employee to submit a claim is low, there are no fees. Discrimination claims have no upper cap in terms of potential awards and the total cost to the organisation both in management time and reputational damage can be immense.

For help and guidance in this area please contact me at [email protected] or phone on 02036407748

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