Night workers? Increased risk of harassment

Employees working in the night-time economy face high levels of violence, aggression and sexual behaviours while commuting or at work, a survey has found.

44% of women and 26% of men working in night-time industries, such as bars, nightclubs or restaurants, have been harassed at work or on their way to the workplace. One in three experienced some sort of unwanted behaviour, while 15% reported sexual harassment, rising to 28% of women.

60% of harassment victims have never reported an incident to their employer, with many claiming they had little faith that action would be taken. Three-quarters had not reported the behaviour to the police. The findings demonstrate that harassment of night-time economy workers is widespread and under-reported, with women being more likely to experience harassment than men.

The government is being urged to back the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010 Bill), which if enacted would require employers to take reasonable steps to stop workplace sexual harassment, and make public sexual harassment a standalone offence.  The Bill recently passed its second reading in the House of Commons.

It is recommended that:

  • employers and the government collect and publish data on the prevalence of workplace harassment and the impact on those who experience it
  • employers work with specialist organisations to develop and publish a personal safety policy
  • the government, in partnership with specialist services, develops a national framework for tackling harassment
  • transport services provide regular, safe routes home from work, such as 24-hour transport systems.

It should be noted that harassment and violence are not confined to the night-time economy, and all employers are urged to go beyond current health and safety requirements to “provide the level of safety and peace of mind that is a basic employee right.

Should you wish to discuss this subject, contact 121 HR Solutions on 0800 9995 121.

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