New guidance to help eliminate workplace sexual harassment

News article

New guidance to help employers, employees, and their representatives eradicate sexual harassment from the workplace.

The Labour Relations Agency (LRA), in partnership with the Northern Ireland Committee for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (NIC-ICTU), has published new guidance seeking to tackle the continuing problem of sexual harassment in Northern Ireland workplaces.

Eliminating workplace sexual harassment

Often passed off as workplace 'banter', sexual harassment can take many forms which are confronted in the new detailed guide. It explores the impact on victims and offers best practice advice to help eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace. Working in close collaboration with the LRA and fully endorsed by Women in Business, the guide was developed following years of campaigning by the trade union movement and consultation with a diverse range of staff groups.

The new guidance also responds to a Trades Union Congress (TUC) poll in 2016 which revealed that more than half of women had experienced some sort of sexual harassment or violence at work during their career, with almost 80% of those affected, opting not to report or seek support.

How will the guidance benefit my organisation?

Quoting insights from lived experiences, the guide challenges organisations to consider how they create a positive, inclusive, and safe workplace culture where all are treated with respect. It also includes a sample sexual harassment policy, which can be adapted to suit specific business needs.

Key learnings

The guidance explains:

  • what sexual harassment is in a workplace setting
  • the extent of sexual harassment in the workplace 
  • importance of a stand-alone sexual harassment workplace policy
  • current legal framework
  • best practice approach to eliminate workplace sexual harassment
  • possible future legislative changes
  • tribunal cases and practical lessons
  • the need to build good workplace practices and culture

Sample workplace policy template

The guidance also includes a sample template to help you create a workplace sexual harassment policy suitable to your organisation. You can choose those clauses that suit your specific organisation and amend them as necessary.

Read the sexual harassment guidance.

First published 12 March 2024