Are sexual harassment claims on the increase in the workplace? | Moorepay
October 5, 2023

Are sexual harassment claims on the increase in the workplace?

Is workplace sexual harassment on the rise?

With the recent BBC news coverage, and investigations, relating to sexual harassment claims made against the former CEO of the US clothing brand Abercrombie and Fitch, we discuss if sexual harassment claims are on the increase within the workplace, and what steps can responsible employers take to reduce possible claims and to effectively manage these. 

Although the allegations have yet to be proven, it does highlight another claim being made by former employees about sexual harassment incidents whilst at work. 

MeToo Movement

Are sexual harassment claims on the increase in the workplace?  

A recent workplace survey ran by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that 4% of employees said they had been sexually harassed at work over the past three years, with younger employees more likely to report this experience: 8% of employees aged 18-–34, compared with 4% aged 35-–44 and 3% aged 45-64. Women are significantly more likely than men to report they have experienced both bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace (17% versus 13% and 7% versus 2%, respectively). Further, almost a quarter (24%) of employees think that challenging issues like bullying and harassment are swept under the carpet in their organisation. 

Working in a safe place?

It’s in an organisation’s best interests to create a safe and healthy work environment, which is inclusive, that’s transparent and free from any discrimination. It’s important to allow employees to raise concerns, and for the organisation to listen to these concerns in a safe and confidential manner. The organisation should encourage:

  • A culture of raising concerns – to assist employees to feel safe and listened to at work.
  • A culture free from bullying – a safe workspace free from discrimination. 
  • Training – every member of staff should receive training in the approach to raising concerns and in receiving and acting on them.
  • Support after raising any concerns and what the next steps can be. 

Whistleblowing and Confidentiality

Whistleblowing is the action someone takes to report any wrongdoings at work that affects themselves or others.  By law (the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998), whistleblowers are protected from unfair dismissal. They also can disclose information in confidence knowing their claims will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. If someone is dismissed for whistleblowing, it will be treated as an automatic unfair dismissal.

Workplace Culture

The CIPD report advises that “when dealing with harassment at work, prevention is better than cure. Engaging with employees on the issue and raising awareness of the company’s zero-tolerance policy for unacceptable behaviour are key to avoiding incidences of sexual harassment occurring in the first place. A workplace environment which values difference, is free from hostility and based on tolerance, will enable people to contribute more effectively and achieve higher levels of job satisfaction. People cannot make their best contribution if they are working in fear of harassment or bullying. Alongside policies, employers should promote the importance of respect between employees at every level of the organisation, encouraging a supportive and inclusive culture so that people’s behaviour reflects the right values.”

This article is intended for all business owners and employers, who want to review their current Bullying, Harassment and Whistleblowing Policies – please contact the policy team at Moorepay who can assist you with these policies. Please contact the policy team at or by telephone on 0845 073 0240 for assistance.

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About the author

Marc Thomas