Tackling sexual harassment in the workplace

Research carried out in 2020 by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows sexual harassment is still a serious problem in some UK workplaces:

  • According to the CIPD four percent of employees said they had been sexually harassed at work over the past three years.
  • Women are significantly more likely than men to report they have experienced both bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of employees think that challenging issues like bullying and harassment are swept under the carpet in their organisation.

The Equality Act 2010 defines harassment as ‘unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual’.

Sexual harassment can take place online as well as in person and is always unacceptable.

But the CIPD findings show that regulation alone is not enough to stamp out discriminatory attitudes and behaviour towards women in the workplace.

The report highlights how every employee – particularly team leaders and line managers – needs to play their part in promoting dignity and respect at work.

As well as reading the full report on the CIPD website you can find further resources, including advice from Citizens Advice on what to do if you are being harassed at work.

There is also a link to CIPD research on managing conflict in the workplace.

We should all be prepared to challenge inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour.

If you or anyone you know has experienced sexual harassment please contact a member of the Training Now safeguarding team for support and advice.

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