Is sexism still rife in your business?

BlogHR Advice Posted: Tuesday 12th September 2017 by

Earlier this month YouGov survey results revealed that 12 per cent of young women working for large employers knew that sexual harassment in their companies went unreported. Meanwhile, 40 per cent of female HR professionals felt their workplace was sexist, compared with just a quarter 24 per cent of their male counterparts. (Credit CIPD)

In July, we blogged about sexism in the workplace following the revelation that the new Doctor Who was to be cast as a woman. Yet, despite foundations, policies and moral responsibility being commonplace in most places of work, sexism still exists and can have more of an effect than you may think on female colleagues.

Harmful workplace experiences such as sexist remarks and ignoring women in meetings are no laughing matter and have been reported to negatively affect the occupational well-being and psychological health of those affected. Of course, we are not singling out women as the victims, as there are also plenty of cases, both reported and not, of men falling victim to the same treatment.

In 2016 more than 1,786 people – predominantly women, but not all – complained to ACAS about sexual discrimination, with most workers confused about the action they should take. And, unlike unfair dismissal, there is no upper limit to claims for sexual discrimination.

To prevent legal ramifications for your business, here are our top tips on how to close the door on sexism in the workplace once and for all.

Enforce policies and procedures

If you haven’t already, be sure to introduce strong anti-discrimination policies that make it crystal clear that workplace sexism is not only unacceptable but will have severe ramifications – and then take action. If you don’t follow through with disciplinary action then your workplace policies (not just those related to sexism) may never be taken seriously by your workforce.

Provide training

By training your managers, supervisors and even your Board on the subject of sexism sensitivity and gender inequalities in the workplace, the positive message will start to filter down through your workforce.

Rethink the recruitment process

Stamping out discrimination in the workplace starts with a company’s own recruitment procedures. Follow best-practice recruitment and interview guidelines to keep your business on the side of the law, and because you’ll have the very best chance of finding the right person for the job.

Employers who can provide evidence of fair recruitment and selection procedures will stand a better chance of persuading a tribunal that they did not discriminate against a particular applicant.

Evaluate salary guidelines

Gender pay reporting legislation requires employers with 250 or more employees to publish statutory calculations every year showing how large the pay gap is between their male and female employees.

Although your business may only employ a handful of people, ensuring fair and equal pay for the same job, irrelevant of the gender of the post-holder, will help to eliminate any feelings of unfairness amongst your employees.


For support with writing policies and procedures, gender pay gap reporting, or employee engagement activities, get in touch with one of our specialist HR consultants.

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