• International Workplace
  • 18 December 2018

Much to do about management of sexual harassment at work

New research from workplace experts ACAS on sexual harassment has revealed that only one in four workers agree that international media coverage has helped to improve their workplace culture.

ACAS commissioned the study from YouGov to find out whether media reporting on the #MeToo campaign and high-profile celebrity cases have had any effect on British workplaces.

ACAS Head of Diversity, Julie Dennis, said:

"It has been one year since the #MeToo movement gained widespread publicity, but our poll reveals that there's still a long way to go to change British workplace cultures.

"Our study also reveals that many workers feel their employers are doing enough but then there's a big question around why so few of them are likely to report serious incidents to their line manager.

"Businesses need to ensure that workplace environments are safe and welcoming places so that any type of sexual harassment behaviour never sees the light of day. But if it does happen then staff should feel confident to report this type of abuse."

The poll also found that:

  • four in ten workers (38%) said that they would be "very likely" to report sexual harassment if they personally experienced it in their workplace;
  • six out of ten (58%) workers believe that their current employer is doing about the right amount to reduce sexual harassment in their workplace; and
  • 46% of workers believe that 'making changes to the wider culture of the company' would be effective in preventing sexual harassment.

The specific measures that the poll respondents identified, which would be effective in reducing sexual harassment at work included:

  • Better training on the topic for all staff (60%);
  • Updating existing policies and procedures for dealing with sexual harassment (44%);
  • Creating new policies and procedures (38%); and
  • Making changes to legal protections (35%).

The complete findings of the ACAS policy paper, Sexual harassment in the British workplace: We all know it's wrong, so why is it so difficult to stop? are available to download.