Sexual harassment – an NHS workplace issue

UNISON has long campaigned to highlight sexual harassment as a workplace issue.

We are pleased to see this reflected in the work of the Social Partnership Forum. Visit the website for information and resources that can be used by employers, trade unions and staff in NHS organisations to improve sexual safety and tackle sexual harassment.

Research by UNISON in 2019, revealed health staff suffering serious sexual harassment at work.

This was again highlighted by UNISON in 2021 through a study revealing that the majority of nursing staff had experienced sexual harassment at work.

Enough is enough. We need action now.

UNISON’s #UsToo campaign aims to educate members and activists on ways to address and prevent sexual harassment.

Prevention is key and the priority for trade unions in dealing with sexual harassment is to eliminate it from the workplace.

A major conclusion from the ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation) report ‘Safe at home, safe at work’ is that:

“Collective bargaining is one of the most important mechanisms for preventing and addressing violence against women at work, either as part of agreements that address violence against all workers, or in relation to specific issues, such as sexual
harassment at work.”

That is why UNISON has developed guidance on sexual harassment as a workplace issue.

Now, a new charter launched by NHS England aims to commit NHS employers to taking and enforcing a zero-tolerance approach to any unwanted, inappropriate and/or harmful sexual behaviours within the workplace, and to ten core principles and actions to help achieve this.

UNISON is also looking at strengthening legal safeguards against workplace harassment, through the Worker Protection Bill.