More than two-thirds of LGBT people in the UK say they have experienced sexual harassment at work, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has said.
The union’s survey found that 68% in total had been sexually harassed, while 42% said they had received comments about their sex life made by colleagues. Over a quarter (27%) said they had experienced unwanted sexual advances.
The TUC said there was a concerning gap between the number of LGBT workers experiencing harassment and the number of those reporting it to their employer. Of the 68% who said they’d been sexually harassed, just 34% had told their employer.
The survey also suggested that LGBT women are more likely to be harassed than LGBT men. Over a third (35%) of women said they had received unwanted touches, such as on the thigh or lower back. And 12% said they had suffered a serious sexual assault or rape whilst at work.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “In 2019 LGBT people should be safe and supported at work. But instead, they’re experiencing shockingly high levels of sexual harassment and assault.
“Workplace culture needs to change.”
Ms O’Grady also called on the government to “change the law to put the responsibility for preventing harassment on employers, not victims”.
A Government Equalities Office spokesperson said: “It is appalling LGBT people are suffering this harassment. Workplaces should be safe, supportive environments for everybody.
“The government will consult shortly on how we can strengthen and clarify existing laws on third-party harassment, as well as making sure employers fully understand their legal responsibility to protect their staff.”