Unions, women’s rights organisations and charities have increased pressure on the government to make employers responsible for protecting their staff against sexual harassment.
The “This is not working” alliance has reiterated calls for new legislation that puts the responsibility for tackling inappropriate behaviour at work on employers. The government is expected to launch a consultation on addressing sexual harassment soon.
The alliance – which is formed of 20 organisations including the TUC, Business in the Community, the Fawcett Society and Unison – has launched a petition that demands an “easily enforceable” legal duty on employers to take “reasonable steps” to protect their staff.
If its recommendation is taken forward, a new duty would be supported with a code of practice, mandatory training for staff and managers, and clear workplace policies on harassment.
The petition says: “Our laws rely on individuals reporting but #ThisIsNotWorking. The onus is on the victim to report – which can be isolating, confusing and potentially traumatic. Four out of five don’t feel able to report sexual harassment to their employer. It should not be down to the individual to prevent and manage their harassment alone.”
Last week the International Labour Organization agreed to a treaty on violence and harassment, which will require ILO members (including the UK) to protect workers against sexual harassment.
According to research commissioned by the TUC earlier this year, 52% of women and 68% of LGBT people have experienced sexually harassment at work. Eight in 10 (79%) women affected do not feel able to report it to their employer, which allows harassment to continue without consequence for the perpetrator.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s shocking that in 2019 so many people experience sexual harassment and assault while at work."
By Ashleigh Webber on 26 Jun 2019 in Sexual harassment, Bullying and harassment, Latest News