Harassment related to sex and sexual harassment are illegal under the Equality Act 2010. Sexual harassment is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or less favourable treatment as a result of the submission to or rejection of sexual harassment or harassment related to sex in relation to teaching, learning, working or social situations.
The following are some examples of activities that might constitute sexual harassment:
- unnecessary and unwelcome physical contact
- sexual assault
- suggestive and unwelcome comments or gestures
- emphasising the gender of an individual or a group
- persistent unwelcome requests for social or sexual encounters and favours
- display, or electronic transmission, of pornographic, degrading or indecent images or threatening, abusive or unwanted comments of a sexual nature.
- non-consensual sharing of sexually explicit media.
These activities will be considered to be very serious if they are accompanied by one or both of the following:
- explicit or implicit promises for compliance that are a misuse of an institutional position (e.g. promises of higher assessment marks for a student or a recommendation for promotion for a member of staff)
- explicit or implicit threats of penalties for non-compliance that are a misuse of an institutional position (e.g. refusal to provide appropriate support/advice or resources)