WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT MUST BE STOPPED
SDA & Australian Human Rights Commission survey results
The SDA & the Australian Human Rights Commission Launch the AHRC Report: Everyone’s business: Survey on sexual harassment of members of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association
Sexual harassment is unacceptable. All workers have a right to a safe work environment, free from sexual harassment, and the SDA is campaigning to eliminate it across the retail, fast food and warehousing industries.
The SDA, in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission, has surveyed SDA members to find out more about the sexual harassment retail and fast food workers experience.
More than 3,400 SDA members across the country responded to the survey which found an extraordinarily high prevalence of sexual harassment of workers in retail and fast food..
Together with Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, we are pleased to announce the publication of the AHRC Report, Everyone’s business: Survey on sexual harassment of members of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association. A copy of the full report can be found here. [include link]
These are the preliminary key findings:
- 39% have experienced workplace sexual harassment in the last five years. This is higher than the general workforce which is 33%.
- Women are more likely to experience sexual harassment at work with 46% of women compared to 29% of men.
- 1 in 3 women have experienced workplace sexual harassment in the last 12 months.
- Over half the women aged 35 years or under reported experiencing sexual harassment in the last five years.
- 3 in 5 women aged between 18 and 34 have experienced sexual harassment at work in the last five years.
- The most common form of sexual harassment experienced are:
- 1. Sexually suggestive comments or offensive jokes (24%)
- 2. Intrusive questions about private life or personal appearances (22%)
- 3. Inappropriate starting of leering (20%)
- 4. Unwelcome touching, hugging, cornering or kissing (14%)
- 5. Inappropriate physical contact (12%)
- 36% of harassment experienced was perpetrated by a customer.
- Over half (53%) of the cases of sexual harassment lasted for more than six months.
- Only 13% made a formal report or complaint after being sexually harassed.
- Almost 1 in 5 who made a complaint were ostracised, victimised or ignored by colleagues.
- Over a quarter of cases (28%) where the harassment was formally reported there were no consequences for the perpetrator and 61% reported no change in their workplace.
- 60% did not report the sexual harassment because they thought people would think it was an overreaction.
- 51% did not report the sexual harassment because they didn’t think it would change anything and 47% said it was easier to keep quiet.
- 1 in 5 (22%) of victims said they were not aware of how to report the incident or who to report to.
- A quarter who experienced sexual harassment said it negatively impacts on their employment, career or work.
- 44% who experienced sexual harassment said it caused mental health issues or stress, out of those 40% identified anxiety as the impact.
There are several key actions we believe can help put an end to sexual harassment:
- Prevention: currently, there is no requirement for employers to proactively prevent sexual harassment towards their employees. Employers must put in place prevention strategies to stop the harassment from occurring in the first place.
- Reporting: employers must make reporting sexual harassment easier for their employees and investigate and take appropriate action when incidents are reported so victims can feel safe and confident that they will be taken seriously.
The full report will be launched by the Australian Human Rights Commission on Tuesday, 29 October 2019.
The SDA will be taking these survey results to employers as part of the next step to end sexual harassment in the retail and fast food industries.
If you are sexually harassed at work, contact the SDA for advice and support.