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20 October 2018
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Sexism still exists in the workplace © iStock

4 September 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

One in eight large UK organisations admits knowing that sexual harassment has gone unreported in their workplace.


A YouGov survey for Young Women’s Trust – a charity that supports young women on low or no pay – asked 800 human resources decision-makers about women’s experiences at work.


Three in five employers (63 per cent) agreed that sexism still exists in the workplace, with a third admitting that women face prejudice and discrimination because of their gender in their own workplace. The number of women saying their workplace was sexist was much higher, at 40 per cent. 


Ten per cent of organisations with 250 or more employees said there had been formal reports of sexual harassment in their workplace and 12 per cent said they were aware of incidents that had gone unreported. 


This comes as a Supreme Court ruling found employment tribunal fees to be unlawful, following a challenge from public sector union Unison.


Now employees will once more be able to take on employers over workplace sexual harassment without worrying about having to pay huge sums. While tribunal fees were in place, the number of women reporting sexual harassment at work fell dramatically, despite calls to helplines increasing. 


Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE, said: “Too many young women are facing sexism and sexual harassment while trying to carry out their jobs. It is shocking how many employers are aware of this in their own workplaces – yet the problem continues. 


“As a result of the Supreme Court ruling, we are pleased that young women, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet, will not be prevented from taking cases forward. It’s important that women have access to justice when they face discrimination and harassment at work, no matter how much money they have.


“Employers should look too at what they can do to prevent problems occurring in the first place. Supporting more women into a male-dominated workplace, for example, can help to change the culture. Everyone should be able to feel safe at work.” 


Young Women’s Trust supports young women on low or no pay and facing poverty, and campaigns against discrimination at work.