New report shows failure to address sexual harassment in the workplace

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

New report shows failure to address sexual harassment in the workplace

In a new report, the Women and Equalities Committee finds that the Government, regulators and employers are failing in their responsibilities to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace.

Following a wide-ranging six-month inquiry, the Committee finds that sexual harassment at work is widespread and commonplace but there has been a failure to tackle unlawful behaviours, despite the Government’s obligations under international law.

The Committee also added that employers and regulators have ignored their responsibilities for too long and often legal protections are not available to workers in practice.

40% of women and 18% of men have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace according to a poll by ComRes for the BBC.

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller MP, said: “It is utterly shameful that in 2018, unwanted sexual comments, touching, groping and assault are seen as an everyday occurrence and part of the culture in many workplaces.”

The report calls on the Government to focus on five priorities to put sexual harassment at the top of the agenda for employers: a new duty on employers to prevent harassment, a requirement for regulators to take a more active role, making enforcement processes work better for employees, clean up the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), collection of more robust data on extent of sexual harassment in the workplace.

UK EAPA chair, Neil Mountford said: “It is of grave concern that this is still happening in the workplace and that affected employees are not receiving the help and support they need from their employer. It is clear from this latest report that employers need to take affirmative action to ensure policies and support are in place to demonstrate that sexual harassment will not be tolerated.

“There are also a number of ways employers can ensure support is available to their employees when they need it. Make sure that victims of any harassment know who they can talk to in confidence about the issues they are experiencing, whether it’s HR, their manager or by providing access to a 24/7 helpline, such as an employee assistance programme (EAP).”

Read the full report here.

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