A new campaign seeks to close the gap in the law that allows too many workplaces to treat such abuse as a sad inevitability
Most of us understand how our physical wellbeing is protected at work – health and safety measures, much maligned by the right, have made sure of that. But what if you’re sexually assaulted? Shockingly, employers currently have no legal duty to prevent harassment – a glaring oversight that a new campaign by an alliance of organisations including Time’s Up, the TUC and Amnesty International is hoping to change. The alliance has also launched a petition, which has reached nearly 8,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
When I told friends I was working on the development of the campaign, their stories came flooding out. Working in bars with colleagues who wouldn’t stop touching them, threats of rape from managers, incessant, inappropriate comments on their appearance or sex lives – everyone I knew had a handful of discomfiting experiences. I had my own tales, too. The job stacking shelves next to a middle-aged shift manager who would constantly ask my colleagues whether or not they’d have sex with me; the ad man who made constant “jokes” about raping clients.
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