After multiple reports of workplace harassment were revealed in the news last week, insurance firm Lloyd’s of London has announced that it will address the concerns by investigating the claims.
Last week, 18 anonymous female workers at the firm told Bloomberg and The Independent that they faced daily harassment including being routinely “leered and letched at” by male co-workers. They also commented on a general institutionalised attitude of sexism in the historic London firm.
Lloyd's CEO John Neal told the BBC that the reports of harassment were "distressing," and added that "no one should be subjected to this sort of behaviour, and if it does happen, everyone has the right to be heard and for those responsible to be held to account."
"Every time women are described it is by their looks first," one female employee commented. "'Wear that tight top to go and get a deal done.” She added that “everything was deemed to be banter and innuendo that people laughed off."
Speaking to the press, Neal has committed to providing a confidential channel for women to report abuse as the investigation into claims continues and added that any staff found to be abusing colleagues will be punished and “banned for life” from entering the Lloyd’s of London location.
"I am determined that Lloyd's offers a safe and inclusive working environment for everyone," Neal concluded.
The issue may be compounded by the recent news that 44% of business directors have never had any training at all on workplace harassment, according to a study conducted by Navex Global. A further 21% have only received one singular training session, the report revealed.
What can managers do to address the issue?
First and foremost, it’s important to ensure that all staff are fluent in identifying all forms of workplace harassment. This may well come from a series of in-depth training sessions or ensuring that all staff are fully versed on company policy on professional workplace etiquette.
It is also essential that directors are trained themselves; workplace training should be a regular feature for all staff, including senior management. Acas offers a host of resources for identifying and dealing with such issues in the workplace, along with advice for those who feel that they may be experiencing it.