News | Legal News

01 November 2017

TUC demands action on widespread sexual harassment

The leader of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has issued a plan of action to tackle the growing sexual harassment pandemic.

Frances O'Grady has written a statement in the Guardian after hearing some people say the widespread issue is "too big to solve".

"In reality, there's a huge amount that politicians and employers can do right now to make women safer at work - assuming they take the problem seriously rather than cracking "jokes" about it on national radio," she wrote.

The union leader's comments come after Environmental Secretary Michael Gove was publicly bashed for comparing being interviewed by BBC's Today programme presenter John Humphrys to entering film exec Harvey Weinstein's bedroom.

Ms O'Grady says the first step is to gather data on how widespread the issue is, collating "hard numbers" of workplace sexual harassment and assault incidents.

"It's not good enough to rely on WhatsApp groups or secret spreadsheets: the government should be gathering its own data and making fully informed policy decisions," she continued.

She also says the Government should be forcing employers to have specific sexual harassment policies that are well-documented and well-known among members of staff, to help victims who want to take action.

Companies of every size should be offering training on sexual harassment, what inappropriate behaviour looks like, and how to report it, the TUC chief says.

She also says the "just banter" defence is unacceptable and employers should be adopting a zero-tolerance policy.

She added: "Indeed, education is the single most important step we can take to crack down on sexual harassment, and government and employers should work together to deliver it."

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been accused by 93 women of sexual misconduct, including 13 separate allegations of rape. He denies all allegations of non-consensual sex and is currently under investigation by four police forces in London, Los Angeles, New York and Beverly Hills.

Hannah King, associate in the B P Collins employment team, has been giving HR training to a number of the firm clients on all form of discrimination, including sexual harassment, plus many other areas of employment law. If you would like to review your diversity and equal opportunity policies or seek training to protect your workforce, please contact Hannah on 01753 278659 or email employmentlaw@bpcollins.co.uk.

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