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Sex discrimination claims hit new high

Global backlash: Employment lawyers say women are more likely to come forward since the sex allegations against Harvey Weinstein, above

THE number of sex discrimination claims by workers has increased by 69 per cent to a five-year high in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

More than 9,300 claims were made last year, with women increasingly likely to come forward since sex allegations against Harvey Weinstein (pictured) in 2017 started a global backlash, said employment lawyers GQ 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, the firm said. It has also seen an increase in historical cases being brought forward.

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.

‘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.

There is a balance to be struck between effective anti-discrimination measures and measures that can marginalise women, for example by excluding them from work-related social activities or by making it more difficult for them to receive mentoring.’