Sexual harassment at work

Last updated: 24 Jun 2024

According to UK law, sexual harassment is unwanted conduct or behaviour related to sex, or of a sexual nature, which has the purpose or effect of:

  • violating the other’s dignity, or
  • creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment.

The legal definition also encompasses less favourable treatment because of rejection (or submission) of unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or related to gender reassignment or sex.

The law can apply to one-off incidents, or to patterns of behaviour. We must not underestimate the cumulative effect a pattern of ‘low-level’, even unintentional, sexual harassment can have on the victim. At its worst, sexual harassment destroys careers, and damages mental health.

Bectu’s Sexual Harassment Support Service

If you’re a Bectu member and you think you have experienced sexual harassment, we’re here for you.

Our Sexual Harassment Support Service is staffed by a specially trained team who are here to listen to you and guide you through any formal process, should you wish. If you just want to report a case of sexual harassment and remain anonymous, that is fine, too.

Fill in our contact form and our specially trained team will be in touch.

Download our guide

Download Bectu‘s workplace guide to dealing with sexual harassment

Further resources and support for tackling sexual harassment

You can find more resources, training and tools for reps to help tackle, prevent and respond to workplace sexual harassment on the TUC website.