According to figures published last week by the TUC, 52 per cent of all women and nearly two thirds of women between the ages of 18 and 24 have experienced sexual harassment at work.
The study, “Still just a bit of banter?”, which was carried out in conjunction with the Everyday Sexism Project, also found that:
- nearly one in three women have been the subject of unwelcome jokes of a sexual nature at work
- more than one in four women have been the subject of comments of a sexual nature about their body or clothes at work
- nearly a quarter of women have experienced unwanted touching
- a fifth of women have experienced unwanted verbal sexual advances at work
- around one in eight women have experienced unwanted sexual touching or attempts to kiss them at work.
In the vast majority of cases (88 per cent), the perpetrator was male, and nearly one in five women reported that the person was their line manager, or someone with direct authority over them.
The survey also found that around four out of five women who said they experienced sexual harassment at work did not tell their employer about what was happening in case it impacted negatively on their relationships at work or their career prospects. Others were just too embarrassed to talk about it or felt they would not be believed or taken seriously.
The TUC and the Everyday Sexism Project are calling on the government to adopt a series of measures including:
- abolishing employment tribunal fees to give more people access to justice
- reinstating provisions in the Equality Act which placed a duty on employers to protect workers from third party harassment
- giving employment tribunals the power to make wider recommendations for the benefit of the wider workforce, not just the individual claimant
- giving union equality reps full recognition and facility time.
- extending the full range of statutory employment rights to all workers, regardless of employment status or type of contract
Neil Todd, from Thompsons, said: “The findings in the TUC report that sexual harassment remains rife in workplaces across the country is of grave concern to anyone who values a fair, tolerant and just workplace free from any form of discriminatory conduct. The measures the report is recommending to help address this problem appear wholly sensible and it is imperative that more is done by the government to tackle this issue.”
To read the study, go to: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/SexualHarassmentreport2016.pdf