Office opening hours: 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday. Offices closed on Bank Holidays.
Home Menu Search

Sexual Harassment

An employee has alleged sexual harassment by a patient.... what should we do?

You have a duty of care to your employee to investigate this matter fully and to take appropriate action. You must satisfy yourself that any action you take is adequate to protect the employee in the future, and that he or she is satisfied with this.

Under no circumstances must you ignore the complaint.

It may be possible to protect the employee without asking for the patient to be removed the patient from your list, but you would have to check that this was acceptable to the employee.  

You must also, of course, be sure to make no unfounded allegation against a patient, which could result in a claim for defamation. In addition you have a legal duty of care to your patient.  

You may be able to claim legitimately, if the employee was a doctor or nurse, that their professional relationship had broken down.  If the problem affected another member of staff, or was sufficiently serious, you may be able to claim that it had caused a breakdown in the professional relationship with the registered GPs.  

In this situation you could ask the patient to find a new practice or, if the claim was sufficiently serious, you could ask for the patient to be removed from your list.

Sexual harassment is a very serious issue in employment law and your practice could be at risk if you do not take adequate action. 

We would advise documenting your actions very carefully and, since Wessex LMCs cannot give specific legal advice, you may well need to seek specific legal advice from your practice solicitor. 

About this page...

Updated on Monday, 28 September 2020 1741 views