Research

UK: Workers fear the sack for reporting sexual harassment

One in four young women are scared they will be sacked if they report sexual harassment at work, a UK study has found. The research by Young Women’s Trust found that just 6 per cent of young women who had been sexually harassed at work reported the misconduct. Sophie Walker, chief executive of the charity, said: “No woman should feel unsafe at work or put up with sexual harassment as something that's part of the day job - we've heard so many testimonies, read so many reports and yet it's still not mandatory to stop this from happening.”

The trust’s research found:

  • 16 per cent of young women said they “know of cases of sexual harassment at work that have been reported and not dealt with properly”.
  • Five per cent of young women said they have had to change job due to sexual harassment, assault or abuse.
  • Eight per cent said they have been treated less well at work because they rejected sexual advances.

Walker continued: “We’re calling on the government to make it mandatory for all employers to protect their workers and volunteers from harassment and victimisation. Alongside this, employers should make it easier to report abuse by customers and clients, as well as colleagues, and put in place unbiased reporting processes that do not penalise victims.”

Earlier this month, in what the TUC described as a ‘significant advance’, revised Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance said the safety regulator may act where an employer fails to address workplace harassment risks. The HSE investigation policy change came three months after it was accused of having an ‘enforcement anomaly’ and a ‘prevention blindspot’ on workplace harassment.
Read more: Young Women’s Trust news release. The Independent. Source: Risks 920

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