Sexual Harassment Policy - FAQs

These questions focus on the policy and who and when it applies.  Questions also cover topics such as what you should do should you witness inappropriate conduct and what type of behaviour is classed as sexual harassment.

  • Who does this policy apply to?

    It applies to all those who work within the Holyrood campus and constituency and regional offices.

  • I am a contractor based within the Parliament, does this Policy apply to me?

    Yes.  Your employer has signed up to the standards contained within this Policy and it is their responsibility to deal with any formal complaints raised by their staff or any misconduct carried out by their employees.

  • Is this policy underpinned by legislation?

    Yes. Sexual Harassment is contrary to the Equality Act 2010 and the values of the Parliament.

  • What does zero tolerance mean?

    This means that we will take steps to prevent sexual harassment occurring, take any complaints seriously, respond in a fair and proportionate manner, and ensure there are consequences for misconduct.

  • What is the role of HR?

    To provide advice and maintain the policy and procedures and to provide training.  HR will also manage the external contractors associated with this Policy, i.e. the Independent Support Service and the Investigation Service.

  • Does this Policy apply out with working hours or on social media sites?

    Yes.  The standards of behaviour outlined within the Policy apply if you are working out with normal hours and applies to all other work-related activities and social events.  This also applies to your use of social media sites.

  • What type of behaviour would be classed as sexual harassment?

    Sexual harassment can take many forms but generally it is unwanted behaviours of a sexual nature which is intended to, or has the effect of, violating another person’s dignity and creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.  Some examples of such behaviours include making sexist comments or inappropriate remarks about someone, sending unwanted messages or images of a sexual nature via social media, unwanted physical contact, or abusing your power by propositioning someone for sexual activity in return for ‘favours’, e.g. career advancement.

  • Does the Dignity at Work policy still apply?

    Yes.  It is currently under review to align it with the Sexual Harassment Policy.  This Policy applies to SPCB staff and covers other forms of harassment and bullying.

  • I’m worried about raising a concern in case it becomes public?

    We know that concerns about issues being made public can prevent people from coming forward in the first place. Therefore, it is essential that complaints raised under this Policy are dealt with in the strictest confidence.  All parties involved in any complaint carry that responsibility and must respect confidentiality at all stages of the process.


    The identity of the complainant and the respondent will be restricted to those who have a legitimate need to know and any sensitive information disclosed will be handled in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation.

  • Will my complaint be reported to the police if a crime has been committed?

    If the information you give indicates that a criminal offence may have taken place, then you will have access to advice and support, through the Independent Support Service, to assist you in coming to a decision on how to take this forward including whether or not you wish to report it to the police.  Your employer has responsibility for ensuring your health and safety whilst at work and may have to take action to ensure you are not at risk of any harm, for example, by considering different working arrangements to minimise contact whilst an investigation is ongoing.

  • Who should I contact if I feel I am being victimised after making a complaint?


    Victimisation in any form will not be tolerated and you should raise it in the first instance with your line manager or via the formal procedures i.e. your employer’s Grievance Policy.

  • How are malicious complaints dealt with?


    If a complaint is found to be malicious it will be dealt with through your employer’s Disciplinary Procedures.

  • I am a manager and, although I have not received a complaint, I suspect a member of my team has behaved inappropriately. Can I still raise this with the individual?

    Yes, you do not need to wait until someone else makes a complaint.  If you require support or advice on dealing with the issue you should contact your HR Team.

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