ARE THESE RE­ALLY CRIMES? LAWYERS SAY YES

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Peter Hitchens -

LEAN­ING TOO CLOSE

THE SIT­U­A­TION: In the doc­u­men­tary, we see bar man­ager Ryan lean­ing over the shoul­der of his new col­league, fel­low man­ager Cat, as he shows her how to use the stock­tak­ing soft­ware on the com­puter. Is he too close? HOW THE MEN SEE IT: ‘He is too close, he’s lean­ing over her shoul­der. But she doesn’t seem to find a prob­lem with it.’ HOW THE WOMEN SEE IT: ‘I was shocked Cat didn’t have the courage to iden­tify the prob­lem and call it straight away.’ THE LAWYER’S VER­DICT: ‘Ryan has texted friends about the “fit new duty man­ager”, writ­ing “She wants it mate. She just doesn’t know it yet.” Def­i­nitely sex­ual ha­rass­ment.’

TOUCH­ING THE BACK

THE SIT­U­A­TION: Dur­ing af­ter-work drinks and danc­ing, Cat is sick. Ryan checks she is OK, putting his hand on her shoul­der then slid­ing it down to her waist. She moves away but doesn’t say any­thing. HOW THE MEN SEE IT: ‘I don’t think it was very fair to say mov­ing away was an ex­plicit sign she was say­ing no.’ HOW THE WOMEN SEE IT: ‘Ryan was sex­u­ally ha­rass­ing Cat, try­ing to get her to drink a lot. It seemed he only had one mo­tive and that was to get her into bed.’ THE LAWYER’S VER­DICT: ‘Sex­ual ha­rass­ment. With any form of phys­i­cal con­tact at work – other than shak­ing hands – you’re get­ting your­self into trou­ble.’

PAY­ING A COM­PLI­MENT

THE SIT­U­A­TION: Cat looks sur­prised when Ryan com­pli­ments her on her per­fume. Was it flirty or friendly? HOW THE MEN SEE IT: ‘If some­one com­pli­ments you on your smell, that’s nice. He just said, “That’s nice per­fume.”’ HOW THE WOMEN SEE IT: ‘If one of my work col­leagues had com­pli­mented my per­fume, I wouldn’t have taken of­fence. If she found it of­fen­sive she should have def­i­nitely said some­thing.’ THE LAWYER’S VER­DICT: ‘The per­fume com­ment is sex­ual ha­rass­ment. For ex­am­ple, would he say to a man, you’ve got nice per­fume? If not, then it’s likely that it’s re­lated to sex.’

MAK­ING A PASS

THE SIT­U­A­TION: They have a drink in the bar af­ter work and share a taxi home. At Cat’s stop, Ryan gets out and sends the driver away. He then tries to kiss Cat and says: ‘I thought I was get­ting sig­nals.’ She makes her ex­cuses and leaves. HOW THE MEN SEE IT: ‘She shouldn’t be of­fended. They work in a bar. He tried to make a move. It could have been messier.’ HOW THE WOMEN SEE IT: ‘The move to­wards Cat was sex­ual ha­rass­ment. I don’t see how it’s not.’ THE LAWYER’S VER­DICT: ‘Pro­vid­ing we could es­tab­lish that it was linked to his work – that he was act­ing in the course of his em­ploy­ment – then that’s ha­rass­ment.’

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