Almost eight in ten British people have experienced unwanted sexual attention in the workplace, according to research from VoucherCodesPro.
The study of 2,365 Britons aged 18 and over found that the majority of those had experienced it from customers and passers-by (78%), whilst others experienced it from colleagues (15%) and management (7%).
In a bid to determine which industries this was most prevalent in, all those who had experienced attention of this sort were asked to state what sector they worked in at the time of receiving the attention. Once all responses were collected, the top industries were revealed as:
1. Catering and hospitality - 14%
2. Retail - 13%
3. Construction - 12%
4. Entertainment - 12%
5. Energy and utilities - 10%
6. Law enforcement - 8%
7. Teaching - 6%
8. Marketing - 5%
9. Healthcare - 4%
10. Finance - 3%
Suggestive looks were the most common form of unwanted attention, experienced by 31%. Inappropriate comments (25%) and inappropriate emails/messages (13%) were cited as the next most common ways that people overstepped the mark with them whilst at work.
However, workers were found to be unlikely to report the harassment to their managers. When asked how they dealt with the situation, the majority chose to ignore it and carry on (68%), whilst just one fifth chose to file a complaint (19%). Just five per cent confessed that they confronted the individual over the matter directly.
George Charles, spokesperson for VoucherCodesPro, was not suprised that employees can feel afraid to report harassment to their managers.
“Getting unwanted attention of any kind, sexual or not, can make people feel very uncomfortable,” he said. “For many, they know how they’d react outside of the workplace, but in the workplace they’re worried about causing a scene or losing their job.
“We spend so much of our lives at work, we have a right to feel safe.”
Wells Fargo recommends that employers set out a policy prohibiting harassment and setting out a procedure for making complaints in order to prevent harassment.
They recommend conducting a prompt investigation of any harassment complaint, including an interview with the employee who complained of harassment, the alleged harasser, and others who might have relevant information.