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Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment

Prospect is committed to using every tool at our disposal to protect members from sexual harassment at work.

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.

Download Prospect's workplace guide to dealing with sexual harassment

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.

High-profile sexual harassment scandals, from Hollywood to Westminster, have raised questions about how workers can be protected. Trade Unions have a unique role in solving the problem. Prospect offers a powerful combination of

  • individual representation – providing expert support to victims of sexual harassment, both in their workplace and through legal proceedings
  • collective bargaining – using our experience and influence to shape better workplace policies and cultures
  • organising and campaigning – for awareness and better education of workers and employers, and for stronger laws to protect workers

Support for members

If you’re a Prospect member and you’re unsure whether a situation you’re experiencing classifies as harassment, please speak to your local representative, phone our member contact centre on 0300 600 1878 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 7pm) or email All enquiries will be treated with complete confidentiality.

You can also download:

More information

For more information about Prospect’s work on sexual harassment, read some of our recent blogs.

Blog posts

What does sexual harassment look like in your workplace?

”I asked them to take down the calendar with pictures of naked women, and they did. They probably moaned about it behind my back, but that’s better than the message it was giving out.”

Scales of justice

Presidents Club scandal highlights the need for stronger sexual harassment laws

The scandal of the Presidents Club is another high profile example of the abuse of women workers and the inadequacies of the law.There have been numerous press reports of the event this week, following the revelations from under cover FT journalist, Madison Marriage. It is shocking that women working at...

Sarah Ward

Sexual harassment: It’s not ok – and you don’t have to put up with it

At a time when shocking evidence of workplace abuse of power is causing all employers to review their procedures, with sexual harassment at top of the list, Sarah Ward, national secretary, reassures workers in the creative sectors that BECTU will continue to support members to pursue their complaints.

Harvey Weinstein

Why the Harvey Weinstein story should convince you to join a union

It’s easy to trawl Instagram and flip through trashy magazines while admiring the lives of famous actors. They’re rich, beautiful and successful – nothing bad could ever happen to them, right? We’d be happy and safe if we were one of them?

football kids in red

Tackle discrimination in football – join your union

Anna Kessel, chair of Women in Football, explains why joining Prospect can help women tackle the many inequalities in the industry

Woman wearing PPE

Women and work – obstacles to equality

Former Prime Minister Harold Wilson famously said that a week was a long time in politics. Three reports in three days in January illustrated how far we still have to travel before Britain can claim to be an equal society.