A campaign from an alliance of unions, charities and women’s right groups has called for employers to be legally liable if they fail to protect their staff from sexual harassment at work.
The alliance called ‘This is Not Working’ has launched a petition for new legislation that would require employers to take preventative measures to stop sexual misconduct in the workplace. These measures could involve mandatory training for staff and managers, and clear policies on the topic.
Currently it is the responsibility of victims to report sexual harassment at work and there is no legal obligation for employers to take proactive action to stop it. A potential barrier to this is that 79% of women don’t feel able to report incidents of sexual harassment to their employers, and a quarter of LGBT people said they did not report because they were afraid of being “outed” at work.
Research has been carried out by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) which found that half of women have been sexually harassed at work, as well as 7 out of 10 LGBT workers. Furthermore, their research found 1 in 8 women have experienced unwanted sexual touching or attempts to kiss them at work; 28% of women have received comments of a sexual nature about their body or clothes whilst in the workplace.
TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “It’s shocking that in 2019 so many people experience sexual harassment and assault while at work. The government must strengthen the law to put responsibility for preventing harassment on employers”.
Source: the Guardian