Research perspectives

Sex discrimination claims show major increase

The number of sex discrimination claims brought against employers by individuals has risen by 69% in the past year. The number of claims reached 9,340 cases in 2018/19, up from 5,520 in 2017/18This is the highest level of sex discrimination claims since 2013/14 when 13,720 claims were brought. The number of such claims has risen almost three times faster than growth in overall claims brought to employment tribunal. Overall claims rose 27% to 35,430 in 2018/19, up from 27,920 the year before.

The research by law firm GQ/Littler found that women are more likely to come forward about sex discrimination since the #MeToo movement, and a series of high-profile cases of harassment. Their research also found that many UK businesses have introduced rules and guidelines to ensure stricter control on employee behaviour. Measures include prohibiting men and women from sharing rental cars alone on business trips, banning staring at colleagues for short periods of time, discouraging hugging, avoiding improper comments about co-workers looking ‘attractive’, and banning or reducing alcohol at work-related events. However the rise in claims show that these measures on their own may not be enough.