No harm, no foul?

No harm, no foul?

We’ve experienced a significant increase in sexual assault and harassment cases recently:

• The member of a golf club committee that asked a waitress who was offering him a lift home if she was offering to give him a “little sex

• The bar manager that complained about female bra straps always falling down employees’ arms and then pushed them up an 18-year-old’s arm and under her t-shirt for her.

• The 18-year-old trainee who was being shown the beer barrels down in the cellar when the bar manager said, “You know, no one would hear you if you screamed in here”.

• The bar manager, who, when asked what time he finished his shift by the new trainee, said, “Are you asking how I get off?

The defence of all of these?

“No harm, no foul” – there’s no harm trying it on; you never know, they might say yes.

But the truth is, it’s never “no harm, no foul” for the females in these situations, particularly if the abuser is in a position of power and the employee knows they are likely to be fired or “encouraged to move on” if they complain.

And if they do complain, they’re habitually faced with accusations about their mental health, promiscuity, intelligence, and appearance.

What might help prevent these situations is if your staff realise that what they are doing is not just “showing their appreciation” but is actually experienced as sexual harassment.

We’ve found a useful video which breaks down a situation to show you how allegedly “innocent” actions and “banter” ended up in the employer losing a case for sexual harassment (yes, if your employees behave badly, YOU will be paying the bill).

It’s well worth a watch – let me know what you think!

No harm no foul

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    If you are an employee and feel that you have been treated badly, then we strongly advise you to contact ACAS:

    Call the ACAS Helpline on 0300 123 1100 for free support and advice.

    Simply get in touch and they'll provide you with clear and confidential guidance about any kind of dispute or query that you have about relationship issues within the workplace.

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