Following a survey of 1,500 female employees, the TUC has released shocking findings on sexual harassment in the workplace that it has described as ‘shameful’.
Out of the respondents, one-third of women had at some stage of their careers been subjected to unwelcome comments or jokes, whilst one in four had received sexually related comments on their clothing.
Most surprisingly is the unveiling that the issue of sexual harassment is more commonplace for women between 18 to 24 with two thirds saying they had encountered some form of sexual harassment at work.
The TUC discusses a spectrum of inappropriate actions under the term ‘sexual harassment’ and includes suggestive remarks, jokes about a colleague’s sex life and circulating pornography, to inappropriate touching, hugging or kissing, or demands for sexual favours.
In most cases, the perpetrator was male, with nearly one in five women saying it was their line manager, or someone with direct authority over them.
One in four had been touched and one in eight said someone had tried to kiss them.
Four out of five women who said they experienced sexual harassment at work did not tell their employer, fearing it would affect their relationships at work, hit their career prospects or they were too embarrassed to talk about it.
These finds have come as a shock to many who believed that the undermining and humiliating subject of sexual harassment in the workplace was a thing of the past. However, the findings highlight that this
is still a problem for thousands of women in the UK workforce today.
General Secretary of the TUC Frances O’Grady has said that sexual harassment has no place in a modern workplace, or in wider society and has called for employers to take urgent action to inform and educate all of their employees on the negative impact of these behaviours and to safeguard against sexual harassment.
The statistics from the report are sure to open up the subject of sexual harassment at work for future debate, so employers are urged to take steps to safeguard their all of their employees now to avoid issues later on down the line.