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.