#TUC2019: Strengthen laws on workplace sexual harassment, says CSP

The CSP has called for a new, easily enforceable legal duty, requiring employers to take all reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation.

Jill Taylor speaking at TUC Congress. Photo credit: Jess Hurd

Speaking to a CSP motion to TUC Congress, Jill Taylor said: 'Sexual harassment has no place in the workplace. But every day, people across the UK are sexually harassed at work.

'One in two women have been sexually harassed at work and two in three LGBT workers have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.'

Ms Taylor cited a Unison survey that showed that nearly one in 10 healthcare workers reported being sexually harassed, including verbal abuse, offensive ‘banter’, suggestive gestures and being leered at.

Nearly a third of those said it had occurred on a regular basis and one in 10 said it occurred weekly or daily. And 50 per cent of the acts of sexual harassments were reported as being committed by immediate colleagues. ‘This has resulted in healthcare workers isolating themselves from colleagues, self-harming or contemplating suicide, whilst others have been driven to leave their jobs,’ Ms Taylor said.

‘Shockingly at the moment there is no legal duty on employers to take proactive action to prevent this from happening. Our current laws rely on individuals reporting incidents.'

She added that this onus on victims reporting led to more than a quarter keeping quiet about it and only one in five reporting it to human resources managers, in many casesdue to the belief that 'nothing would be done, or they would be dismissed as oversensitive or the perpetrator would retaliate.'


The CSP was ‘proud’ to have joined the TUC-led #ThisIsNotWorking campaign, which was launched earlier this year after the ILO passed a new Convention on ‘Violence and Harassment in the World of Work’.

This was the first new Convention agreed in eight years and showed 'international recognition of the urgent need to tackle violence and harassment in the workplace.'

'Harassment shouldn’t be a fact of working life and it is time the government did something about it,' adds Ms Taylor.

Composite motion the NASUWT teachers’ union seconded 10 ILO convention on workplace and carried unanimously.

TUC Congress is the annual policy-making conference of the British trade union movement; it started Sunday and ends today.

You can follow TUC Congress debates on twitter #TUC2019 

Find out more about the #ThisIsNotWorking campaign

Respond to a Government consultation if you have experienced sexual harassment or supported a colleague who has: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/Workplacesexualharassment/

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