Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, is calling on the government to take immediate action to end sexual harassment in the workplace as part of the Heart Unions week organised by the Trades Union Congress.
Trades Union Congress research has found that:
- 1 in 2 women have been sexually harassed at work
- 2 in 3 or 68 percent of LGBT+ workers have been sexually harassed at work
- 4 out of 5 victims do not report their sexual harassment to their employer
The existing laws rely upon individuals reporting their sexual harassment to their employer. Currently, there is no legal duty for employers to take proactive action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Andrew Gwynne MP is pressing the government to ensure that the new Employment Bill requires employers to take reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation. This includes setting up an independent regulator which will allow employers to make anonymous complaints about their workplace.
It is also important that employers work with their local trade unions to review their workplace policies, providing staff with proper training so that sexual harassment in the workplace can be stamped out.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“Workers deserve to feel safe and free from sexual harassment at work, but research shows that this is still a huge problem that is affecting millions of people across the UK.
“The current legislation is clearly not working, and we need to do everything we can to press the Government to do everything it can to stop it.
“I am urging all of my constituents to join me in signing the petition of the Trades Union Congress which is calling for the changes to end sexual harassment in the workplace.”
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, Trades Union Congress’ 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.”
The petition can be found here.