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I work in the UK for a small company. I have accepted another job offer starting soon. I have felt that the environment and culture of the agency is shockingly inappropriate and has made me feel highly uncomfortable and intimidated, the reason why I have been keen to leave as soon as I had secured another job.

I have documented evidence of the company internally sharing explicit and graphic images of a sexual nature, which have included edited images/posters of myself in sexual scenes. Whilst the apparent intention of these images is presented as ‘banter between the team’, I feel that this environment has been personally extremely offensive, humiliating and degrading. As the only junior member in the team, this behaviour comes directly from my managers and directors of the company. There is no HR department, and therefore there is no one I feel I could raise this issue with, as all the team are involved in encouraging this behaviour.

Who should I speak to about this? Is this a case for legal harassment in the workplace? And if so, should I contact a solicitor about it?

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    What do you want to accomplish with a solicitor?
    – Kilisi
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 9:30
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    @Kilisi Cash, usually. A solicitor will be able to assess the evidence and what course of action to take. This will depend wholly on the circumstances and strength of evidence, which is why my answer is as short as is it - consult an expert, take their advice.
    – user124851
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 9:48
  • @Kilisi Not a lawyer, but I think she could also potentially sue to get the defamatory sexual images destroyed.
    – nick012000
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 0:03

2 Answers 2

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Firstly, that sounds like an awful environment! It's good you have found a new job.

You may have a claim for constructive dismissal. A solicitor could advise you on this or you could call ACAS or speak to a local Citizens Advice Bureau.

If you'd like to engage a solicitor, it'd be worth checking whether your home contents insurance includes legal cover. If it does, contact your insurer first. If you don't have any legal cover, some solicitors will offer an initial consultation for free.

It might be wise to do some background reading before progressing. ACAS publish advice on what constitutes constructive dismissal and rules around making a claim. If you want to make a claim, this would be at an employment tribunal; the process for this is described here

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    And note that the UK doesn't really have punitive damages. So you'd only be trying to recover any losses. Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 12:03
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    ...and prevent anyone else having to endure this from those people in future, perhaps. Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 12:38
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    @GregoryCurrie That doesn't mean that you can't get substantial compensation, and there may be other (possibly criminal) procedings that result from this.
    – uɐɪ
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 13:02
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    @uɐɪ You get compensation in line with loss suffered, and given the OP quite their job only when they had a new job, I'm guessing it's not much. The OP hasn't indicated what they want from this, though Snow has guessed money. Criminal proceedings are not instigated by civil proceedings, but the solicitor may advise to go to the police, who could start a parallel investigation if they believe a crime has been committed. Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 13:13
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I second everything simonc said, especially contacting Citizens Advice Bureau. It's free, they'll arrange an initial consultation, and if necessary give you an hour of free legal advice (directly from a solicitor) who can advise you best on the next course of action.

If you do go the legal route (which I would advise against, because as stated above your losses are negligible), you will need to immediately pay legal bills (it's not free after that first hour).

Starting now, make sure you have electronic (and ideally also printed) copies of any evidence and also include your employment contract and employee handbook in this. Make sure these are accessible outside of your work email/computer; basically, assume that you're going to lose all access immediately (tomorrow) and get your copies safely away.

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