7 in 10 (68%) people think the #MeToo movement has allowed people to be more open about sexual harassment, according to a new TUC poll published today.
This number is highest amongst women (72%) and young people (78%).
But the TUC says that despite higher levels of awareness, cases of sexual harassment remain alarmingly high.
During this HeartUnions week (10-16 February) we are campaigning on sexual harassment. We are calling on the government to introduce a legal duty on employers to actively prevent sexual harassment at work.
TUC research found that more than half (52%) of women – and nearly two-thirds (63%) of young women aged 18-24 years old – have experienced sexual harassment at work.
Around 30,000 young women in Wales joined the workforce in the last year, and there are now nearly 95,000 young women in work.
The TUC says the law on sexual harassment must be changed urgently to stop any more people being harassed.
There is no legal requirement for employers to prevent sexual harassment happening in their workplaces. Instead, it is up to the victim to report it after it has happened.
The TUC wants the law changed so employers have a legal duty to make sure that their workplaces are harassment-free – by taking simple preventative steps like carrying out mandatory training for all staff and managers, and having clear policies.
This would shift the burden of dealing with sexual harassment from individuals to employers. And would change workplace cultures and stop the problem once and for all, says the TUC.
The UK government was due to publish its response to its consultation on changing the law on sexual harassment last month. But it has now been delayed.
Wales TUC Acting General Secretary Shavanah Taj said: “The #MeToo movement has helped people speak more openly about sexual harassment. That’s a good thing.
“But talking about the problem isn’t going to fix it. The UK government must stop dragging its feet and change the law.
“Employers, not victims, should be responsible for tackling harassment at work.
“We’re calling on everyone who wants to stop sexual harassment to join us this HeartUnions week, and demand ministers take action now.”
A TUC alliance – backed by more than 30 organisations including the Fawcett Society, Imkaan, Amnesty International UK, Stonewall and Time’s Up UK – has launched a petition calling on the government to change the law.
This week during HeartUnions, workers are stepping up and taking action – where employers and the government have failed to – working with union reps to lead on preventative action in their workplaces.
- HeartUnions week is taking place this week (10-16 February 2020). It’s a week of activity throughout England and Wales that highlights the good work that unions do every day to offer everyone a voice at work. For more information about the activity taking place this week please visit: www.tuc.org.uk/heartunions
- The total sample size for the poll was 2,198 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th - 6th February 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
- The TUC alliance petition has been signed by nearly 12,000 people and can be found at: www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/uk-gov-act-to-prevent-sexual-harassment-at-work
- TUC research on sexual harassment is available at: www.tuc.org.uk/news/nearly-two-three-young-women-have-experienced-sexual-harassment-work-tuc-survey-reveals
- TUC research on the sexual harassment of LGBT people is available at: www.tuc.org.uk/news/nearly-7-10-lgbt-people-say-they-have-been-sexually-harassed-work-says-tuc