The Fawcett Society has long campaigned for stronger legislation against sexual harassment in the workplace. Now the Government is consulting on how to strengthen sexual harassment laws. 

What is the Government planning? 

This summer the Government will be consulting on how to strengthen the laws in relation to sexual harassment at work and whether employers should have legal responsibility to prevent harassment at work. Further information can be found here. The Fawcett Society has been campaigning for the Government to strengthen sexual harassment laws and we want to hear your views on the Government’s proposals.

Complete the call for evidence which closes on October 2nd here

How does the law define sexual harassment?

The law defines sexual harassment in the workplace as unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which violates your dignity, creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. This can happen in a number of ways, including:

  • Written or verbal comments of a sexual nature
  • Comments about your appearance, questions about your sex life or offensive jokes
  • Displaying pornographic or explicit images
  • Emails with content of a sexual nature
  • Unwanted physical contact or touching
  • Sexual assault 

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 onSexual 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.

Fawcett runs the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Sex Equality, a cross-party group of MPs and peers, and provides a forum for discussing sex equality and associated issues.

Following the group’s meeting in January looking at sexual harassment in the workplace it became clear that women in the hospitality industry are at particular risk, with many employers failing to protect staff.

Fawcett are also hosting our own survey, which Fawcett supporters are welcome to feed in to. 

This call for evidence should only take about 10 minutes to respond to, depending on how much you have to tell us.

We want to collect your experiences and ideas to help us respond to the Government’s consultation later this summer. 

Fawcett may use anonymised accounts from this survey to feed in to our own submission. 

Complete our call for evidence here