Supporting branches to tackle Sexual Harassment in the workplace

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2024 National Women's Conference
13 October 2023

Conference, sadly, we know that sexual harassment in the workplace is an all too regular occurrence, in fact, recent statistics make for bleak reading; with 45% of women reporting to have experienced sexual harassment at work, and 85% of those women who did report it, believing their claims were not handled correctly by their employers.

In recent months, sexual harassment, and sexual assault against women at work has rarely been out of the headlines. With damning reports about women working in healthcare being sexually assaulted in their workplaces; the TUC reporting that two thirds of young women experience sexual harassment at work.

Conference, UNISON have been fighting the campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace for many years now and we were hopeful that the Workers Protection Bill 2023 would reinforce the employer’s duty to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment and protect against third-party harassment. Unfortunately, this bill has had amendments, which are likely to be accepted, which include scrapping the third-party harassment protection and diluting down the positive obligation on employers to prevent sexual harassment in their workplaces.

It is important that branches are equipped to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace with employers to bring about change.

We ask the National Women’s Committee to:

1: Work with LAOS to increase the understanding of sexual harassment for activists by providing tailored workshops on sexual harassment that covers topics on the law, behaviours; impact and barriers; and how to challenge sexual harassment in the workplace effectively.

2: Work with LAOS to develop a suite of materials available to branches on sexual harassment in the workplace, including updated model policies and guidance that can be tailored to service groups and training modules that can be delivered to employers by branches.

3: Work with the NEC and all appropriate sections of the union and our partners, including Labour Link to lobby for improvements to the law surrounding sexual harassment.

4: Report back on progress to National Women’s Conference 2025.