Sexual harassment – what do we know
and how do we beat it?



Perhaps even more concerningly, 69 per cent of respondents did not feel confident that reporting an incident would be productive.

Just over half of women in the waste management industry have experienced some form of sexual harassment incident.

A recent survey and article produced by Carolyn Cross for MRW magazine showed that the industry is broadly in line with wider business. However, at 52.4 per cent, this is still nothing to shout about. As Founder of Women in Waste, Esther Kiddle, put it: “Would we want our daughters, our nieces, our sisters to have a 50–60% chance of being physically or sexually assaulted at work or at a work-related event?”

Almost 67 per cent of those who had experienced sexual harassment at work were victims of a physical assault. This figure was surprising to many, including Sarah Poulter, CEO of CIWM. Sarah said: “The MRW survey also suggests that people are not willing or comfortable to come out and talk openly. It is important to raise awareness across our industry. The first step is to bring issues like this to the table and talk about them. We also need to provide a supportive environment where people feel safe and heard.”

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission says, “No workplace is immune to sexual harassment, and a lack of reported cases does not mean that people have not experienced it.” In our survey, only 35.3 per cent of respondents had reported incidents. This implies that businesses are yet to convince employees that they provide a safe, supportive environment.

Employers are legally liable for sexual harassment in the workplace if they have not taken reasonable steps to prevent it. This extends to cases where employers were not aware that incidents were taking place. The Equality and Human Rights Commission – a statutory body set up under the Equalities Act 2006 – provides a wealth of advice for employers in Sexual Harassment and Harassment at Work: Technical Guidance.

To read the article in full, visit: or contact Carolyn Cross directly.


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