- 2004 National Lesbian & Gay Conference
- 24 September 2004
- Carried as Amended
Many of us have fought for years for years for equality in all areas. We have had some successes, including some excellent employment laws. However, these laws can sometimes be used against us and when they are there is very little in the way of information and support.
Many of our members work alone with another female/male colleague or client – take for example staff working in community settings such as community nurses and support staff and staff working with vulnerable groups such as in mental health settings. What if the lesbian/gay man is falsely accused of sexual harassment by this colleague or a client? There is a mass of support and information as to what to do if you are the person who brings the allegation and quite rightly so. However if you are the unfortunate victim of false allegations there is very little apart from website litigation “experts” who want your money. In some cases allegations of harassment are malicious and vexatious and constitute a form of harassment, but with little redress.
Without question we must support anyone going through genuine harassment and without doubt UNISON and other trade unions must continue to provide information and support. However what about the victims of false allegations? Many of us now either have first hand experience or experience of representing members who are clearly the victim of false allegations. Often we notice that using the harassment policy often represents an easy way to harass someone through false accusations that are malicious in nature and can have devastating effects on our members’ health and career prospects.
Whilst welcoming the strides we have made in saying harassment in any form is not acceptable we need to be aware of the dangers that we may be more vulnerable to false allegations being made against us.
A starting point should be to gather evidence of just how many lesbians and gay men have suffered at the hands of false accusers, as well as the outcomes of such cases and the need for all of us to be vigilant in representing members to ensure that members who are accused of harassment have an equal need for support and presentation until any allegations are proven.
This Conference calls on the Service Group Executive, Regions and branches to work to:
1.Raise awareness of these issues, working with Self-Organised Groups;
2.Ensure issues are raised with employers when negotiating harassment policies;
3.Produce guidance for representatives and negotiators to ensure that members facing false allegations are given adequate support.
This Conference calls for the Service Group Executive to report on progress to the 2006 Service group Conference.