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Companies should be liable if their employees are sexually harassed at work, says campaign group

Posted by
Sarah Shaffi
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Companies should be liable for sexual harassment in the workplace

A petition to get the law changed has been launched.

More than half of British women are sexually harassed at work, according to a major study. That harassment takes the form of inappropriate jokes, sexual advance, groping and more.

But there is currently no legal duty on employers to take proactive action to prevent this from happening, including if it’s from third parties; employers have no responsibility to protect workers from sexual harassment by customers, visitors or clients.

Now, a new campaign by the TUC is urging the government to change the law to hold companies legally liable if their employees are sexually harassed at work.

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The #ThisIsNotWorking Alliance has launched a petition address to Penny Mordaunt, the minister for women and equalities.

The petition says: “We’re demanding a new, easily enforceable legal duty requiring employers to take all reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation.

“Our laws rely on individuals reporting but #ThisIsNotWorking. The onus is on the victim to report - which can be isolating, confusing and potentially traumatic. Four out of five don’t feel able to report sexual harassment to their employer.

“It should not be down to the individual to prevent and manage their harassment alone.”

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The new duty would be supported by a code of practice, explaining exactly what steps bosses must take to prevent sexual harassment – from carrying out mandatory training for staff and managers to having clear anti-harassment policies in place. 

The TUC #ThisIsNotWorking Alliance is backed by organisations including the Fawcett Society, Time’s Up UK, Stonewall and more. You can sign the petition here.

Image: Getty

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Sarah Shaffi

Sarah Shaffi is a freelance journalist and editor. She reads more books a week than is healthy, and balances this out with copious amounts of TV. She writes regularly about popular culture, particularly how it reflects and represents society.

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