Image: Leon Israel Image: Leon Israel

More than half of women say they have been sexually harassed at work, according to new research by Trades Union Congress.

A survey of 1,500 women found that 52% have experienced some form of sexual harassment whilst at work and four in five women did not report it to their employer.

The TUC stressed that sexual harassment can take place in many forms; indecent or suggestive remarks, unwelcome and inappropriate touching, hugging or kissing and requests for sexual favours.

Almost one quarter of women taking part in the survey said they have experienced unwanted touching at work, and 28% of women have been subject to comments of a sexual nature about their body or clothes.

Who are the perpetrators?

The TUC found that in the majority of cases, the harasser was a male colleague, and in one out of five cases, a direct manager or someone with direct power.

Most of the women (79%) said they were victims of sexual harassment but did not tell their employer over fear that it would affect their relationships at work (28%) or they would not be taken seriously (24%).

One fifth (20%) of women said they were too embarrassed to report the harassment.

The survey also found 32% of women have been subject to unwelcome jokes of a sexual nature and 35% of women have heard sexual comments made about other women at work.

TUC recommends that employers use strong implementation and enforcement of clear policies as well as training to improve the level of sexual harassment within the workplace.

It is also suggested that the government extend a full range of statutory employment rights to all workers, regardless of employment status or type of contract and reinstate the Statutory Equality Questionnaire, which was abolished in 2014.

This follows research published last week by rungway, which found a fifth of female workers fear they will be considered a ‘pest’ if they seek advice on workplace issues.

20 per cent of the women included in the online survey said they don’t feel able to talk about their issues at work, compared to 14% of male workers.