68% of people have experienced sexual harassment during their career, report says.

A new report published by the Fawcett Society, Tackling Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, shows that at least 40% of women experience sexual harassment during their career.

23% of those surveyed said that the sexual harassment increased or escalated while they were working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disabled women surveyed were more likely to have experienced sexual harassment (68%) than women in general (52%).

Employees from ethnic minority backgrounds, both men and women, reported experiencing sexual harassment at a higher level than white employees, with rates of 32% and 28% respectively.

The report also found that 68% of LGBT employees had experienced harassment in the workplace. Culture, policy, training, reporting mechanisms and the way employers respond to reports are five critical elements to help create a workplace intolerant of sexual harassment. The report recommends that employers should: 

Take all forms of sexual harassment seriously. 
Treat employees who report sexual harassment with respect and empathy and ensure women feel able to report harassment, including facilitating anonymous reporting.
Increase gender equality within the organisation, especially at senior levels.
Demonstrate leadership commitment to tackling harassment.
Measure their organisational attitudes towards sexual harassment by conducting an employee survey.
Provide managers dealing with reports with guidance and support.
Have a clear and detailed sexual harassment policy that is separate to their general harassment and bullying policy.

The recommendations in the report will form the basis of a sexual harassment toolkit for employers which will be published next January. Employers can sign up to receive a copy of the toolkit on their website.

If you’re an employee or company looking for advice on sexual harassment claims in the workplace, get in touch.

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