Research perspectives

Most LGBT employees have been sexually harassed at work, research finds

Research by the TUC has found that nearly seven in 10 (68%) LGBT workers have been sexually harassed at work.

Its report, which claims to be the first major study into LGBT sexual harassment at work in the UK, found that more than two in five (42%) LGBT people had unwelcome comments or questions about their sex life from colleagues, and more than a quarter (27%) reported receiving unwelcome verbal sexual advances.

Of the 68% who had experienced sexual harassment, two-thirds (66%) said they did not tell their employer about it, with 25% saying they didn’t report it for fear of being ‘outed’ at work.

LGBT women (35%) are also more likely to experience unwanted touching and sexual assault at work than LGBT men. More than a third reported they had experienced unwanted touching, around a fifth (21%) reported experiencing sexual assault, and one in eight (12%) said they had been seriously sexually assaulted or raped at work. The figures were even higher for BAME women and disabled LGBT men and women.

Such experiences had severely affected lives, with 16% saying that sexual harassment at work had affected their mental health. A similar proportion had left their job, with 4% describing the experience as so unbearable that they left without another job to go to.