Easington MP Grahame Morris is calling on the government to take immediate action to end sexual harassment in the workplace, as part of the TUC’s Heart Unions week.
Despite it being 10 years since the Equality Act, TUC research shows that half of all women and two thirds of LGBT+ workers have been sexually harassed at work.
The existing laws rely on individuals reporting sexual harassment, however the TUC has found four out of five people still don’t feel able to tell their employer about it.
There is currently no legal duty on employers to take proactive action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Mr Morris is pressing the government to ensure the new Employment Bill requires employers to take reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation, including setting up an independent regulator, and asking constituents to join them by signing a TUC petition.
Grahame Morris MP is also calling on employers to work with their local trade unions and review their workplace policies to stamp out sexual harassment at work, provide proper training for staff.
Mr Morris said:
“All workers should feel safe in their working environment and free from sexual harassment. But research shows that it is still a huge problem, affecting millions of people across the UK.
“The current legislation is clearly not working. We need to stand together to press the Government to do everything it can to make it stop. I urge all my constituents to join me in signing the important petition calling for change.”
Rachael Maskell MP, Labour’s Shadow Employment Rights Secretary, said:
“In 2020 far too many people are still being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace and the current legislation simply isn’t working.
“The new Employment Bill is the perfect opportunity for the government to tackle this and ensure that the law provides greater protection from harassment at work.
“We’re asking people to sign the petition and help us make sure the UK is a safe and positive place for us all to work.”
Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, said: “More than half of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment at work. That is not right.
“Sexual harassment has a huge impact on victims’ careers and lives. But the government is dragging its feet and is not making the legal changes needed to fix the problem.
“We are calling for a change to the law so that responsibility for preventing harassment at work sits with employers, not victims. This would shift the burden of tackling sexual harassment away from those who suffer it. And it would help end toxic workplace cultures that silence those who’ve been harassed.
“Unions have been leading the way in tackling sexual harassment. Anyone experiencing sexual harassment at work should join a union to make sure they are protected and respected at work.”
To sigh the petition please visit www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/uk-gov-act-to-prevent-sexual-harassment-at-work
Heart Unions week runs from 10 to 16 February www.tuc.org.uk/heartunions