New research has found that 52% of women experienced unwanted sexual behaviour at work

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Almost a fifth of women are being harassed by someone of authority or their own boss and more than half of women have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace. This is according to a report from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the everyday Sexism Project.

It found that 52% of women have experienced suggestive behaviour at work such as sexual advances and inappropriate jokes and amongst women aged 16-24, this rose to 63%. From this four in five women that experienced sexual harassment did not inform their employers.

According to the Guardian, Annelise Tracey Phillips, a senior employment lawyer at Burges Salmon, said bosses can face legal action for harassment in the workplace “even if they are not aware it is taking place”. She said: “It is vital that employers make clear the standards of behaviour expected of everyone in the workplace.”

The report, titled ‘Still Just a Bit of Banter?’ also revealed that one in eight women reported unwanted sexual touching at work, which the report’s authors point out would be considered sexual assault under the law. Additionally, 1% also said they had been raped or seriously sexually assaulted in their workplace.

Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project and Guardian columnist, said: “People say [sexual harassment] doesn’t go on in the workplace any more. There’s a perception that because of equality laws it’s something people aren’t putting up with. This research shows there’s a huge gap between that perception and the reality of what women are facing.” The Guardian reports.

She discusses ideas revolving around what is acceptable in the workplace. “Perhaps for some older women, there’s a sense of normalisation,” Bates added.

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