The appalling revelations that emerged yesterday concerning serious sexual misconduct within the NHS’ surgical profession rightly casts scrutiny onto that profession. The discovery stems from a report published yesterday in the British Journal of Surgery, which unearths a shocking history of sexual offences in the surgical workforce and is being described by some as a “#MeToo movement for surgery”. Of those individuals who participated in the report:

• nearly 2/3 of women and 1/4 men reported being the victims of sexual harassment;

• 89.5% of women and 81% of men reported witnessing sexual harassment;

• however, only 14.5% of women considered the General Medical Council to be adequate in dealing with issues of sexual misconduct.

Asserting claims for any kind of discrimination can be daunting, but this is particularly the case where this relates to conduct of a sexual nature. The position with NHS surgeons was exacerbated by the hierarchal structure and apparent reluctance of employer organisations to grapple with what appears to have been a widely known issue and to hold senior surgeons accountable. However, fear of retaliation, not being believed and damage to your career are common and natural concerns when considering how and/or whether to raise allegations of sexual harassment.

In this video interview, which is the latest in our ‘Proving Discrimination at Work’ series, Employment Associate George Orman provides some guidance as to how best to address these difficult issues in the workplace.

The tips in this video are general advice only; if you have any specific concerns about sexual misconduct at work the Employment team at Edwin Coe are experts in this field and are here to support you.

Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.

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