Harassment is “unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual”.
Employees are protected from harassment on a number of characteristics including sex. Employees can complain of offensive behaviour even if it is not directed at them, and the complainant need not possess the relevant characteristic themselves.
Employers are vicariously liable for the inappropriate actions of their employees unless they have taken all reasonable steps to prevent it.
The Equalities Act 2010
Jessica Valenti works as a daily columnist for The Guardian who also list her in their “top 100 women” for her work to bring the feminist movement online.
Jessica’s articles often stimulate controversy and debate. Last December’s seasonal offering No I will NOT wrap all the presents which generated over 1000 comments is an excellent example of this.
EYEisBloke, so as long as I say something (preferably in the comments section) Jessica won’t be particularly interested in what I have to say. That said I suspect she’d be disappointed if I didn’t at least mention her in a piece about the ugly side of gender journalism. Besides, in the context of critiquing clickbait culture, criticising Jessica is akin to shooting a very large fish in a very small barrel, so here goes:
This is a quote from her recent article bemoaning hostile working environments called women can’t end sexism in the workplace by just showing up:
Asking individual women to enter hostile spaces to make them better is really asking women to make men better – and to make men better at women’s own risk. But it shouldn’t be women’s responsibility to fix men or deal with their misogyny. Instead, men should be taking it upon themselves to treat women with respect, and demand their other male colleagues do the same.
…straight white men [should] do as much to make spaces friendly for underrepresented groups as those groups themselves. Women – and women’s presence – aren’t the only things that can end sexism, and closing gender gaps is more than just a number’s game. So let’s look forward to the day we can stop counting.
And probably around the exact same time that she finished typing, she tweeted her fans to tell them why she loves working for the guardian so much:
I’ll leave some ambitious and poorly paid intern to find a suitable picture to spell out the concept of vicarious liability to the Guardian’s inward facing lawyers.