The effect of #MeToo on UK workplaces


Date: 27 November 2018

The effect of #MeToo on UK workplaces

New research on sexual harassment has revealed that only one in four workers says that media coverage of the #MeToo campaign has helped to improve their workplace culture.

Acas commissioned a study from YouGov to find out whether media reporting on #MeToo and high-profile celebrity cases have had any effect on British workplaces.

The poll found that:

  • Only 38% of workers said that they would be "very likely" to report sexual harassment if they personally experienced it in their workplace;
  • 58% said their current employer is doing about the right amount to reduce sexual harassment in their workplace;
  • 46% of workers believe that "making changes to the wider culture of the company" would be effective in preventing sexual harassment.

Julie Dennis, Acas head of diversity, said: "It has been one year since the #MeToo movement gained widespread publicity but our poll reveals that there's still a long way to go to change British workplace cultures.

"Our study also reveals that many workers feel their employers are doing enough but then there's a big question around why so few of them are likely to report serious incidents to their line manager.

"Businesses need to ensure that workplace environments are safe and welcoming places so that any type of sexual harassment behaviour never sees the light of day. But if it does happen then staff should feel confident to report this type of abuse."

Respondents also identified specific measures that would help to reduce sexual harassment at work:

  • Better training on the topic for all staff (60%);
  • Updating existing policies and procedures for dealing with sexual harassment (44%);
  • Creating new policies and procedures (38%);
  • Making changes to legal protections (35%).

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