Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Being involved in any situation where you are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace can be very frightening and challenging, regardless of where it takes place.

How can we help?

To discuss your case in detail, contact us today or request a callback from our experienced team.

Free Phone: 1800 844 104
Email: [email protected]

Sexual harassment in the workplace Law

People in power may sometimes abuse their authority and sexually harass another person because they believe the victim will be too afraid to speak up and report the harassment they are experiencing. Hence, the perpetrator will believe they can get away with his/her unlawful acts.

Coleman Legal specialises in the area of sexual abuse law, acting on behalf of those who have been sexually abused and who seek monetary compensation for the pain and suffering inflicted upon them as a result of the abuse.

Monetary compensation is achieved through civil proceedings, and it is a different process to criminal proceedings handled by the Director of Public Prosecutions and An Garda Siochana.

Defining elder abuse

The definition of abuse in Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults: regional adult protection policy and procedural guidelines (2006) in NI is: “the physical, psychological, emotional, financial or sexual maltreatment or neglect of a vulnerable adult by another person.

The abuse may be a single act or repeated over a period of time. It may take one form or multiple forms. The lack of appropriate action can also be a form of abuse.

Abuse can occur in a relationship where there is an expectation of trust and can be perpetrated by a person/persons, in breach of that trust, who have influence over the life of a dependant, whether they be formal or informal carers, staff or family members or others. It can also occur outside such a relationship.”

In ROI a definition of elder abuse outlined by the Working Group on Elder Abuse in 2002 is similar to the NI definition.

It is based on Action on Elder Abuse’s (1995) definition, which was also adopted by the World Health Organization (2002), where elder abuse is described as: “a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person or violates their human and civil rights” (Protecting our Future, 2002).

Categories of Institutional Abuse in Ireland

The following is a list of the various types of elder abuse which can occur in care homes:

• physical abuse
• sexual abuse
• psychological abuse
• financial or material abuse
• neglect and acts of omission
• discriminatory abuse

If you, a friend or family member has experienced any of the above please contact our offices today on 01-5313800 to speak with one of our solicitors who can explain the options and remedies available.

A medical negligence compensation claim solicitor will handle your claim and for damages against healthcare professionals for personal injury and loss.

In the past, we have helped clients who experienced Institutional Abuse in Ireland or neglect in the following forms:-

Toileting: Some nursing homes and residential care homes have regular schedules for toileting their residents and will toilet them on demand with little time between the request to void and the response from the nursing home aide.

Others take too long to take the patient to the toilet, resulting in ‘accidents.’ Too many accidents and the resident ends up in nappies that are left on the resident in a soiled condition, leading to rashes and urine damage to the skin.

The provision of liquids: While most nursing homes and residential care homes can bring themselves to leave water by the bedside, many aides forget that residents have a decreased drive for thirst when compared to young people and they also have a decreased ability to get to the water and drink it. For elderly people, this type of dehydration can lead to low blood pressure, falls and urinary tract infections.

Social Neglect: Residents can be socially neglected by leaving them in bed or a wheelchair in their room where they don’t have access to the environmental milieu or people to talk to. The lack of simple social interaction can lead to episodes of depression that can lead to further isolation and even death.

Medication Errors: Medications are usually given in large numbers to many different residents, leaving a lot of room for error. A cupful of medications can be given to the wrong resident, leading to allergies and adverse side effects. Giving too much of a medication can lead to side effects that can be deadly and failing to give a medication or series of medications to a resident can result in under-treatment of a medical condition and a series of after-effects.

Historical Institutional Abuse at Care Homes in Northern Ireland

The inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse in Northern Ireland (known as the HIA inquiry) was set up in 2013 to investigate child abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over 73 years, up to 1995.

A total of 13 Northern Ireland institutions are being investigated. Whether you were abused as a child or as an adult, and whether the abuse was sexual, physical or both, you can speak to us at CLP in confidence about your entitlement to claim compensation from the individual or the organisation or person that failed to protect you from the abuse.

How can Coleman Legal help?

This firm acts on behalf of victims who wish to take civil proceedings against the perpetrator of abuse with a view to obtaining compensation from a Court for personal injuries, loss, and damage suffered as a result of the wrongful assault, sexual assault, battery, and trespass as well as a breach of their constitutional right to bodily integrity.

We act on behalf of people who have been raped (vaginally, anally, orally, digitally), molested, sexually harassed (in the workplace or elsewhere), or forced to engage in and perform sexual acts against their will.

We act on behalf of both adults and children who are victims and survivors of sexual abuse, as well as those who were sexually abused as children but are now adults seeking to vindicate their rights following abuse perpetrated upon them as a minor.

Coleman Legal LLP

84 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
D01 YX60
DX 112002

Contact Details:
Free Phone: (1800)844104
Fax: (01) 5312727
Email: [email protected]
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Kathrin Coleman

Kathrin Coleman

Senior Solicitor

Sexual Harassment in the workplace important FAQS

I am being/have been sexually harassed at work, what can I do?

Perpetrators can sexually harass someone for a range of different reasons, such as the perpetrator’s seniority, gender, size, popularity, or belief that in some way they think they are superior to their victims.

People who have experienced sexual harassment often feel shame about what has been done to them, they will ask themselves how they did not or were not able, to prevent it, and victims will often blame themselves. They may try to cope with the trauma and shame alone without any help. It is important to remember that sexual harassment is never the victim’s fault. The shame and wrongdoing is wholly on the person carrying-out the sexual harassment, and not the victim.

The Employment Equality Act 1998-2015 Act states that bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, is strictly outlawed in the workplace. The employer is obliged to take all reasonable steps to ensure a harassment-free environment in the workplace for all its employees.

Who can I speak to about sexual harassment in the workplace

If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, you must speak to someone about it and report it. If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, try to speak to someone you trust and report it to your manager. There should be a Dignity at Work Policy that should direct you to appointed personnel that can deal with your case in the workplace.

You can also seek help at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to learn more about your rights in a workplace or service are to be free from sexual harassment and advice about what to do.

If there is no one in work that you can speak to, you can speak about what is going on with a family member or friends. It is important to remember that sexual harassment is never the victim’s fault. If you are being sexually harassed it is never your fault and you should not feel ashamed or blame yourself. It is the perpetrator’s fault.

What can I do if I am being sexually harassed in the workplace?

If you are being harassed, bullied, or intimidated by someone or a group of people, you may:

Tell the person harassing you that their behavior is unacceptable and unwanted if you feel comfortable doing so and if you are in a safe situation to do so. If the harassment does not stop, go to the Gardaí.

If you are being cyberbullied or the bullying is occurring online, block them and report them

If the harassment is occurring in the workplace, report the harassment to a manager on duty, the Human Resources Department or someone else in authority

You may go to appointed personnel that deal with harassment in the workplace. Some organisations have staff who have been trained to support a colleague experiencing harassment or bullying

If a boss or senior is harassing you, then make the complaint to somebody else in charge. It is very important that you keep a journal record of the sexual harassment you are experiencing here
Speak to someone you trust about what is happening
Keep a journal record of the sexual harassment you are experiencing.

If the harassment persists, you can complaint to the Gardai or you can contact us. You can do by writing a letter of complaint or an email with details of the harassment (include what was said, what was done, what you said and what you did to stop the behaviour) and remember to keep a copy

In the case that the sexual harassment you are experiencing is taking a toll on your mental health, please speak to a medical professional or support service to help you during this difficult time. The impact of sexual harassment can be quite severe. The National Sexual Violence Helpline is there for people experiencing sexual harassment, and Rape Crisis Centres provide counselling also.

What is the law in Ireland in relation to sexual harassment in the workplace?

Under The Employment Equality Act 1998-2015 Act, bullying and harassment including sexual harassment are strictly outlawed in the workplace (even for agency workers and trainees), whether it be:

- by an employer
- another employee
- clients or customers
- any business contacts of the employer
- and anyone the employer could reasonably expect the worker to come into contact with.

The employer is obliged to take all reasonable steps to ensure a harassment-free environment in the workplace for all its employees.

If the employer fails to provide a harassment-free work environment, the person who was sexually harassed could take a case against their employer or the employer of the service they were using to the Workplace Relations Commission or a civil court.

There is no specific law in relation to sexual harassment outside of the workplace, but there is a law relating to harassment. The Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 states that harassment is a crime.

Harassment is described as that which, “has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person” under this law and so sexual harassment is included in this law as a form of harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as “unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” which is unwelcomed or offensive, humiliating or intimidating.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with RE.8 of SI 518 of 2002.

Who can I go to for advice if I have been sexually harassed in the workplace?

You can get more information and advice from these organisations in Ireland:

For more information regarding Sexual Harassment, please read – Bullying at the workplace Article

Support Organisations

If you or someone you care about has suffered sexual abuse, or harassment in the workplace there are various support organisations you can contact


This organisation offers a voice to and support for women and men who have experienced sexual abuse and/or sexual violence and also to their family and friends. You can contact them on  

01 662 4070

dublin rape crisis centre

The centre offers a confidential, 24-hour telephone helpline, 7 days a week staffed by trained counsellors who are available to listen to you and any concerns you may have in regard to issues of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or childhood sexual abuse. Contact them on

(01) 661 4911 or 1800 778 888

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Therapy and Support for Children affected by Childhood Sexual Abuse. 


Support for Women and Children who are victims of Domestic Abuse.

Provide support for children who have been or are victims of childhood sexual abuse, and other areas. 

How can we help?

Our dedicated team has extensive experience in claims relating to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace and we are ready to advise and assist you with a claim. If you have experienced harassment or sexual harassment in the workplace and you have questions surrounding the incident, please contact our Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Team today at Coleman Legal to find out if you have a potential legal action.

If you have been the victim of sexual assault or sexual abuse, please contact Diane Treanor either by email or freephone us on 1800 844 104 for a Free Case Evaluation.