Standing against sexual harassment

UNISON publicly responds to government consultation on workplace sexual harassment

UNISON is the UK’s largest women’s organisation. Strong laws on sexual harassment at work are a priority for us.

Workplace sexual harassment is a structural problem that needs structural solutions. That’s why UNISON is calling for an additional clause in the Equality Act to make it mandatory for employers to evidence that they are proactively taking steps to stop sexual harassment taking place.

This would transform the current practice where the onus is on the individual to prove that an act of sexual harassment has already taken place and employers only engage once a report is made.

National women’s officer Josie Irwin said: “Sexual harassment is against the law but that doesn’t stop it happening. It happens in ordinary workplaces every day. The impact for those who experience it can be devastating – it’s an abuse of power.”

Earlier this year, UNISON’s It’s Never OK report found that one in ten members working in health had been sexually harassed in the last year.