Jarrow MP Kate Osborne calls on government to tackle sexual harassment at work

Jarrow MP Kate Osborne is calling on the Government to take immediate action to end sexual harassment in the workplace.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 14th February 2020, 6:03 pm

The Labour MP has urged residents to join her in signing a petition calling for new laws to stamp out sexual harassment at work, as part of the Trade Union Congress' (TUC) Heart Unions week (February 10-16).

Ms Osborne is pressing the Government to ensure the new Employment Bill requires employers to take reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation including setting up an independent regulator.

TUC research shows that half of all women and two thirds of LGBT+ workers have been sexually harassed at work, but there is currently no legal duty on employers to take proactive action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

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Jarrow MP Kate Osborne.

Existing laws rely on individuals reporting incidents and the TUC has found that four out of five people still don’t feel able to tell their employer about it.

Kate is also calling on employers to work with their local trade unions and review their workplace policies and provide proper training for staff.

Ms Osborne, who was elected to represent Jarrow in the December 2019, commented: “All workers should feel safe in their working environment and free from sexual harassment. But research shows that it is still a huge problem, affecting millions of people across the UK.

"The current legislation is clearly not working. We need to stand together to press the Government to do everything it can to make it stop. I urge all my constituents to join me in signing the important petition calling for change."

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Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “We are calling for a change to the law so that responsibility for preventing harassment at work sits with employers, not victims. This would shift the burden of tackling sexual harassment away from those who suffer it. And it would help end toxic workplace cultures that silence those who’ve been harassed.

“Unions have been leading the way in tackling sexual harassment. Anyone experiencing sexual harassment at work should join a union to make sure they are protected and respected at work."

Sign the petition here