An increasing number of female victims in the UK came forward in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Women's March protest at San Franciso, California. Source: Shutterstock
More than 9,300 sex discrimination at workplace claims were made last year, with the trend largely fuelled by the #MeToo movement.
According to employment lawyers CG Littler, moves by companies to tackle sex discrimination, such as banning alcohol at work-related events, or discouraging hugging, are not preventing claims being made.
Hannah Mahon of GQ Littler said: “The increase in sex discrimination claims will raise questions over whether employers are doing enough to stamp out inappropriate behaviour in the workplace,”
However, companies who go too far in an attempt to stave off gendered discrimination will eventually result as inequality at the workplace, warned Mahon.
“It’s clear that more needs to be done to eliminate discrimination. However, some rules, such as those that prohibit social interactions between members of the opposite sex, need to be carefully thought through and implemented with care.”
She underlined the importance to strike a balance between effective anti-discrimination measures and measures that can marginalise women.
“For example, by excluding them from work-related social activities or making it more difficult for them to receive mentoring,” she said.
Charities that campaign for gender quality said the figure shows women are increasingly confident to report instances of discrimination.
"We know that sex discrimination is significantly under-reported, so it is encouraging that so many more women feel able to challenge it and bring claims. Increasingly they are calling Time’s Up on harassment and workplace discrimination,” Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society told The Telegraph.
While more victims are willing to come forward, the underlying solution to tackle the core issue is for companies to prevent discrimination and harassment and to drive a change in workplace culture.
Costume designer Ane Crabtree attends the Costume Designers Guild Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 20, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Christopher Polk - JumpLine/ Getty Images
In June, the United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) has adopted a new treaty against workplace violence and harassment.
This binding treaty comprehensively aims to protect workers from violence and harassment in places where they are paid, taking a break, eating, or using lavatory facilities.
It also covers work-related trips, training, social events, communications, and commuting. There are also specific protections in place for domestic workers and informal workers. It is a powerful statement from the global community, and we look forward to seeing developments and which governments will ratify the treaty.