Harrassment in the workplace: it could be you.

A report published today by the TUC, ‘Still Just A Bit of Banter?’ has hit the headlines across the media today for its shocking statistics on sexual harassment in the workplace. Half of the women surveyed had been victims, and in the 16-24 age-group the figures rose to 63%. The hospitality industry has been highlighted for its prevalence of such abuse . Maybe the whole ‘serving wench’ caricature over the centuries has paved the path of tolerance or even indifference, victims just had to ‘put up or shut up’. TImes are at last changing though and employees are rightly becoming increasingly aware of their right to zero tolerance. ¬†It may be a surprise to some to know that ¬†employers are also subject to increasing obligations to protect their workforce from harassment and can even be prosecuted for failing to do so. ¬†Employers do need to take very great care to ensure that they don’t fall foul of the law. Its not just about having the right policies and practices in place, its also critical ¬†that they are communicated and handled appropriately. ¬†It really is essential to have a full understanding of the law or to take advice from those who do. Ignorance of the Equality Act provisions is absolutely no defence and sanctions for breach of the law can be extremely costly, both in financial and reputational terms.

Half of women in UK have been sexually harassed at work, study finds
Polling of 1,553 women found 52% experienced unwanted behaviour at work including groping, sexual advances and inappropriate jokes

Almost a fifth of women surveyed have been harassed by their boss or someone else with authority.

More than half of women have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace, including sexual assaults and comments about their bodies, research has found.

Researchers from the Trades Union Congress and the Everyday Sexism Project found that 52% of women had experienced unwanted behaviour at work including groping, sexual advances and inappropriate jokes. Among women and girls aged 16-24, the proportion reporting sexual harassment rose to 63%.