MPs Launch Workplace Sex Harassment Inquiry

Committee will examine whether incidents are on the rise.
Maria Miller
Maria Miller
PA Wire/PA Images

Parliament’s equalities select committee has ordered an inquiry in the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace after a damning investigation into incidents in Westminster.

MPs will examine whether the number of occurences is on the rise across a range of industries and what more can be done by the government to tackle the issue.

It follows the results of a survey ordered by Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, which revealed nearly a fifth of people working in Westminster had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment.

The women and equalities committee, chaired by former cabinet minister Maria Miller, has also carried out a number of verbal evidence sessions in which MPs heard from a range of organisations, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and experts in employment law.

Miller, who served as minister for women and equalities under former PM David Cameron, said: “Over the past few months there have been widespread reports of women’s appalling experiences of sexual harassment at work.

“Our recent evidence session with legal experts, employee and employers representatives painted a stark picture.

“Clearly much more needs to be done, both by government and employers: this inquiry is about identifying solutions. We need to change workplace culture, keep women safe and provide effective legal remedies.

“We also need to understand whether non-disclosure agreements are being abused by legal experts and employers to cover up wrongdoing.

“The committee would welcome evidence on how best to tackle these problems, currently faced by thousands of people at work.”

Members will examine the effectiveness of tribunals, workplace cultures and reporting processes.

It is also holding a separate probe into the sexual harassment of women and girls in public places.

Evidence to the latest inquiry can be submitted here until March 13.


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