We are working with women's organisations from across the four nations of the UK on a project to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace. This is funded by Rosa through the Time's Up Justice and Equality Fund.

The project aims to equip employers to be more proactive in their efforts towards eradicating sexual harassment. The current approach relies on women reporting experiences that can be incredibly sensitive and traumatic. This puts them in a vulnerable position personally and within their workplaces. 

The project, which is running over two years (2019-2021), will provide evidence of what works in tackling workplace sexual harassment, develop new resources for employers and campaign for change. The project will benefit from the contribution of the unique expertise of each organisation: The Fawcett Society, Wales-based Chwarae Teg (FairPlay), Scotland-based Close the Gap and the Women’s Resource and Development Agency, which is based in Northern Ireland.

Working across the four nations of the UK, the project will:

  • Review best practice in responding to sexual harassment in the workplace, and explore ideas around independent reporting mechanisms;
  • Research how employers, managers and employees view current experiences;
  • Create employer focused resources to promote a proactive, responsive culture, making workplaces better environments for everyone.

We will work from an intersectional approach which analyses and challenges the ways that differently positioned women are targeted for sexual harassment, for example on the basis of their ethnicity.

What has Fawcett's work been on this issue?

In 2018 Fawcett published the Sex Discrimination Law Review, a landmark review assessing whether equality law in the UK is fit for purpose. You can read the report here 

In February 2019, we published our report on Sexual Harassment in Parliament: protecting MPs, peers, volunteers and staff which demonstrated how glaring gaps in Legislation leave Parliament “Above the Law” on sexual harassment.

In June we joined forces with a number of other unions, charities and women’s rights groups as part of the This is Not Working alliance which launched a petition calling for a new law to make lawyers prevent sexual harassment in their workplaces. 

Under current law there is no legal duty on employers to take proactive action to prevent harassment happening in their workplaces. Instead, the onus is on the victim of the sexual harassment to report it to their employer after it has happened.

In October 2019, Fawcett provided a submission to the Government Equalities Office’s consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, calling for a preventative duty on employers to take steps to prevent all forms of discrimination and harassment in their workplaces, and to set out those steps publicly. In the lead-up to this consultation we put out an open call for evidence to hear from individuals who had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. These responses have helped to shape our submission to this consultation.

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels