Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
7:20 PM 22nd July 2021

Government Policy Change On Sexual Harassment Is A Victory For Union Campaigning

Commenting on the response to the government’s consultation on sexual harassment published by the Government Equalities Office today (Wednesday), which sets out government proposals to stamp out sexual harassment at work, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Today’s news is a victory for years of trade union campaigning – and for every single one of those survivors who shared their experiences of sexual harassment at work to bring about change.

“No one should face sexual harassment at work, but the shocking reality is that most women have. Employers will now have a legal responsibility to protect their staff from sexual harassment.

“And employers must now protect their workers from all forms of harassment by customers and clients as well as from colleagues. This will help stamp out sexual harassment of women workers, and racist and homophobic abuse too. And it will make all public-facing workplaces safer – from shops to surgeries, salons to showrooms.

“If this is to be a genuine turning point, the government must change the law swiftly, put more resources into enforcing the new duties, and make sure victims have access to justice.

“Ministers have taken an important first step – but they must keep up the momentum. Sexual harassment at work is rife and needs tackling now.”

A new poll published today (Wednesday) by the TUC reveals that around 7 in 10 (68%) disabled women surveyed about sexual harassment say they have been sexually harassed at work.

Also commenting was Matthew Percival, Director of People and Skills Policy, who said: “Sexual harassment, wherever it takes place, is illegal and totally unacceptable. Yet it continues to affect too many people, particularly women. Businesses are not immune and need to be part of the solution by making workplaces safe and inclusive.

“Companies agree that they should have policies, procedures and cultures that reduce the likelihood of sexual harassment at work as well as responding appropriately when incidents occur. The Government and EHRC should work with companies to ensure the new statutory code of practice explains what taking 'all reasonable steps' means and gives employers confidence that they are meeting their responsibilities.”