Disturbing practice of ‘upskirting’ raises questions for employers

25th September 2017

Disturbing practice of ‘upskirting’ raises questions for employers

The scourge of ‘upskirting’ – photographing underneath a person’s clothing without their consent – could soon be illegal under new rules being considered by the Government.

But if you are an employer, what are your legal and moral responsibilities if a member of your staff falls victim to the disturbing practice?

Taking surreptitious pictures – often on crowded buses or trains – has been widely condemned as sexual harassment. One woman, Gina Martin, started an online campaign for upskirting to be criminalised after police declined to prosecute a man whom she accused of taking pictures of her on his phone at a music festival in Hyde Park in London this summer.

A change in the law in England and Wales seems long overdue. But what are the practical implications for employers?

The issue was highlighted at a school in Northern Ireland where a pupil took inappropriate images of the teaching staff. When prosecutors declined to take action and the boy was allowed to return to school, staff refused to teach him.

It raises questions about the duty of care employers have to their staff and concerns about how they could even investigate such a claim if, for example, images were taken on a smartphone belonging to a member of your staff.

Much will depend on how the victim has discovered they have been indecently photographed. For example, if images have been published online, there may be a way to discover who was responsible – but that could require court action and a court order.

If somebody else witnessed the photograph being taken, a victim will be reliant on them providing a statement, which they may be reluctant to give.

If the picture is saved to a person’s cloud account, then a court order might be necessary. And if the image was taken on a private phone, they may deny, refuse access to their phone or account and delete the picture – making an investigation very difficult.

While there are many complications, there are some sensible steps employers can take to protect staff. Creating practical policies around the use of phones and other devices in the workplace, while also ensuring thought is given as to how any allegations will be investigated is sound practice. A supportive and compassionate environment for those who raise complaints is also important.

How can Gotelee’s Employment Law solicitors help?

If you want expert advice on how you can protect your staff and adhere to your responsibilities as an employer, our Employment Law solicitors can help.

We can offer your business understanding, insight and practical legal advice to support and protect you and your workforce.

To find out more, call us on 01473 298126.

Blog Posts

Jeremy Hunt launches new Charity to monitor patient safety

18/10/2019

It will be called Patient Safety Watch, and the former health secretary will chair…

Read More
Upcoming Events

How to ensure your employees really ARE your greatest asset

24/09/2019

This is an invitation only event. Gotelee's employment law Partners, Andrew West and Marie…

Read More
News Posts

New Managing Partner announced at Gotelee Solicitors LLP

03/10/2019

Gotelee Solicitors LLP has announced today that Andrew West, partner for 11 of his…

Read More

Testimonials

"We found Rachel Dawson outstanding, polite, professional and caring."

-

"We were very pleased to have Jade as our solicitor, the service was excellent and we felt kept in the loop which minimised stress"

- CT

"Jade Shelton was absolutely fantastic!! Professional and proactive at all times."

- JH

"I have used Tracey Laflin at Gotelee on a number of occasions and in my opinion, she is simply the most efficient conveyancing solicitor I have ever worked with. From the outset, she took the time to understand my specific business requirements and to date, she has exceeded all of my expectations."

- Dale Fiddy - Portobello Developments Ltd

"“ This is the second time we have used Tracey for the conveyancing to buy our new home. She is always completely approachable, she has helped us along the way with advice and useful tips that has helped lessen the stress. We have complete confidence in her and would not hesitate to recommend her to our friends and family”.  - Peter Dawes, Cater Dawes Financial Planning "

-

"This is by far the go-to firm for any issues. You are made to feel valued from the outset and they are so confident in what they do. Wouldn't recommend any other. Thank you Hugh and Max."

- Ros Jones

"I would like to say thank you for your help, support and guidance over the last two and a half years. Obviously should I need further assistance in the future I shall not hesitate to call you guys."

-

"Approachable, very efficient, always willing to take my calls and update me."

- SH

"I don't think this house sale would have pulled together without Jo's determination and expertise. Excellent!"

- MT

"Jade made the process of buying our first home quick, easy and took the stress out of a new chapter of our lives"

-

Please select preferred method of contact

* We will only contact you by telephone if you select this as primary form of contact. All web enquiries will be stored on our website for 30 days.