Sexual harassment is prevalent in the UK workplace

Unwanted hugs and kisses at work are among various types of sexual harassment reported to in a recent Trade Union survey.

A survey of some 7000 people (40% female, 60% male) working in highly-skilled roles across the private and public sectors found that two-thirds of women reporting incidents of harassment had heard suggestive remarks or jokes of a sexual nature in the past year, while a third had been subject to inappropriate touching or hugging.

Among the types of harassment reported by women in the survey were:

  • suggestive remarks or jokes of a sexual nature (27%)
  • unwanted comments about appearance (25%)
  • unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature (17%)
  • unwanted and/or inappropriate touching hugging or kissing (14%).

Overall, 35% of women reported sexual harassment, but that proportion rose for young women, with 62% stating they had been sexually harassed at work.

The survey aimed to establish how often people had seen, or been personally affected by, behaviours in the workplace which amount to bullying or harassment, with one element focusing solely on unwanted sexual behaviour.

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