9 October 2019

Sex Discrimination Claims Are on the Rise: Here's What You Can Do

Although it has been nearly two years since the historic hashtag made its debut, recent data revealed that organisations throughout the UK are continuing to experience a significant rise in sex discrimination claims as a result of the #MeToo movement. 

Indeed, the employment tribunal reported that the number of work-related sex discrimination claims has soared by nearly 70 per cent in the past year. 

Between the Ministry of Justice recently eliminating the requirement to pay a fee before bringing a claim to the employment tribunal and the rise of the #MeToo movement, it’s clear that employees have more motivation than ever before to voice sex discrimination concerns with employers—and make them pay the price for their mistakes. 

Use this guidance to help promote workplace equality and avoid future claims:


  • Know the law — In order for you to implement the proper workplace controls to reduce sex discrimination risks, it’s important that your organisation fully understands the law surrounding this concern. The Equality Act 2010 protects UK employees from the following forms of sex discrimination:
    • Direct and indirect discrimination — When an employee is treated poorly or differently because of their sex, or when a workplace rule or procedure is applied to all employees but disadvantages those of a particular sex.
    • Harassment — Unwanted conduct (e.g. non-consensual physical contact and offensive or humiliating commentary) related to a person’s sex or less favourable treatment of an employee because they have been a victim of sexual harassment.
    • Victimisation — Treating an employee unfairly because they have supported or made a complaint about sex discrimination.
  • Enforce workplace policies — Apart from a sexual harassment policy, your organisation should establish and enforce policies that prevent sex discrimination in the realms of employee recruitment, pay, training, promotions and dismissals. Be sure to also require routine staff training on sex discrimination to educate employees on acceptable behaviours and provide proper support.
  • Take reports seriously — Always take sex discrimination reports seriously. Workers should feel encouraged to share their concerns and receive proper support and resources when they do so.

In addition to these measures, ensure ultimate peace of mind against sex discrimination claims with robust insurance.

The content of this Profile is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly. © 2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.