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More than half of British women sexually harassed at work: survey

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By Lin Taylor

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"You look great today!" "I consider that sexually harassing! "

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

What a joke, anything can (and is) considered harassment these days.

It is legally impossible for a man to even attempt to pursue a woman these days, no matter what he says or does he's open to a harassment charge.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Nearly one in five respondents said the perpetrator was their direct supervisor, and around a quarter said they felt they would not be taken seriously or believed if they reported the harassment.

With the first two comments on this story dismissing the very concept of sexual harassment, if only there was some way to know why so many women don't think their harassment will be taken seriously....

Burning BushAUG. 10, 2016 - 09:59AM JST It is legally impossible for a man to even attempt to pursue a woman these days, no matter what he says or does he's open to a harassment charge.

It's totally legal to pursue a woman who wants to be pursued by you. If your problem is being surrounded by women who don't want to be persued by you, then the problem isn't sexual harassment law, is it. The problem has got to be either how you pursue, or just you.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

@katsu78: True. I heard that in Japan ladies switch several jobs just to find a suitable partner and not for their own "career" prospect. That way they hope to hit the gold mine some day. And the guys are well aware of this situation too. My point here is that you can't clap with one hand after all.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Like train carriages, we really need women only workplaces.

Then they will be totally safe, happy and productive.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Katsu 78

OK so are you saying if two guys "pursue" a woman exactly the same way, if she likes one, its OK, but if she doesn't like the other its harassment??

Surely if the behavior is the same then BOTH are harassment.

I am all for a good working environment & women should absolutely NOT have to put up with harassment, but at the same time people DO interact & if its harassment for one it needs to be harassment for ALL.

Not an easy one to dance around for sure, best to not pursue others in the same office!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

OK so are you saying if two guys "pursue" a woman exactly the same way, if she likes one, its OK, but if she doesn't like the other its harassment??

Yes. And the key distinction is that in one case she tells you to stop. Unless, of course, you've made the situation such that she can't refuse due to fear of retaliation, like if you are her supervisor and have power over her or where there is otherwise created a hostile working environment, in which case you shouldn't be hitting on her at all.

Look, it doesn't take a genius to figure out some pretty basic, common sense rules. Don't hit on people in inappropriate settings (LIKE AT WORK WHEN YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING) - keep it professional. Don't hit on people you have power over. Don't hit on customers. Don't hit on people who have rejected or otherwise responded unenthusiastically to previous advances.

Is that too hard to understand?

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Reminds me of that old B. Spears vid, womanizer.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Depressing but not surprising. I wonder if the Japanese equivalent statistics would be worse or less bad.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

GWAUG. 10, 2016 - 10:58AM JST OK so are you saying if two guys "pursue" a woman exactly the same way, if she likes one, its OK, but if she doesn't like the other its harassment??

If she tells the other to stop, or is unable to tell the other to stop due to fear of retaliation, yeah.

Triumvere said it perfectly. Your work is where you go to work, not to hit on women. Any employee who can't figure that out is an employee whom the workplace can do without.

I guarantee you already intuitively understand this concept because you're a socially functioning adult. You probably wouldn't talk with your mother about the same things you talk about with your best friend. You would probably take great offense if the slimy door-to-door salesman who's always trying to get something out of you decided he was entitled to talk to you about your personal finances just because he saw you talking with your banker about them. You already understand that the context of a conversation and how the people involved feel about each other has far more to do with the appropriateness of the conversation than simply what words are said. We all get this. Some of us just reject it because we're afraid of the implications of what happens when the idea is put into practice regarding the women around us.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

It's totally legal to pursue a woman who wants to be pursued by you

How do I know if she wants to be pursued by me unless I ask?

Example scenario:

Male to female coworker (different department, same level): Would you like to go on a date tonight?

Female: No

Female then goes to her boss and says "I felt uncomfortable by his advances, I was harassed, please take action".

Should he be charged with harassment?

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Burning BushAUG. 10, 2016 - 11:57AM JST Should he be charged with harassment?

No, and he never would be because it's incredibly unlikely that any woman would ever complain about a one-time request for a date that's not a pattern of other harassing behavior and it's infinitesimally unlikely that any boss would ever file criminal charges over such behavior.

Unfortunately, opponents of women's equality often try to paint sexual harassment laws in such an unreasonable light.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

There is no sexual harassment news by women yet.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

No, and he never would be because it's incredibly unlikely that any woman would ever complain about a one-time request for a date that's not a pattern of other harassing behavior and it's infinitesimally unlikely that any boss would ever file criminal charges over such behavior.

Your opinion is interesting but it doesn't matter.

What does the law say?

If she "feels" uncomfortable, the man has committed harrassment.

Harrassment is judged solely on the woman's subjective interpretation of the events.

Even if it's just one request by the man, if she doesn't like it(him), it constitutes harassment.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

@Burning Bush

Nah, you'd still have judges and lawyers looking at the case. Like katsu78 said, your imagined scenario likely never happens. The article even says 80% didn't report it. And also like kastsu78 said, it's hard to blame them with attitudes like the ones seen here.

I'm sure most women can spot a creeper when they see one, and some men just don't realize or care how creepy they are.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

wonder what the numbers are like in Japan. my guess is that what is seen as harassment in UK wouldn't make the grade in a typical J company. Only the local branches/subs of foreign companies take this seriously

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm sure most women can spot a creeper when they see one, and some men just don't realize or care how creepy they are.

Very subjective and open to interpretation, hence the problems and confusion surrounding this issue.

The law should be clear, and not based solely on the woman's feelings towards any particular comment. If an initial romantic advance is to be permitted than the law should allow for that.

But currently, any potential romantic advance is susceptible to a harassment charge.

If not, please provide me with a sample invitation a man could use to invite a coworker on a date and be guaranteed that he won't face a harassment charge.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Seeing as I recently read an article that said sexual assaults reported to police by schools, particularly in the age group 5-11 years old has gone up drastically, I would take this with a pinch of salt. mean, how can a 5 year old be accused of sexual assault? Britain has clearly gone PC mad with a heightened sense of anything. Of course serious/genuine sexual harassment/assault should not tolerated but I just can't trust my compatriots judgement anymore.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I just can't trust my compatriots judgement anymore.

Agree, the rules should be clearly defined in an objective manner. Not just "a woman feels uncomfortable" or "he's creepy".

The sad reality is that if the woman happens to like the man, his advances will be welcome, but if she doesn't, the exact same advances would be classified as harassment.

So guys in the western world are scared stiff of pursing coworkers because of these vague, subjective and undefined rules.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Burning BushAUG. 10, 2016 - 09:59AM JST What a joke, anything can (and is) considered harassment these days. It is legally impossible for a man to even attempt to pursue a woman these days, no matter what he says or does he's open to a harassment charge.

Maybe you're just not doing it right Mr Bush.

Pretty surprising to read that statistic though for dementedly PC GB. I wonder what the real numbers here in France are - attitudes are still stuck in the 1980's. Like the freaking radio stations.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Maybe you're just not doing it right Mr Bush.

That's harassment.

I'm not kidding, if this were an office and you were my coworker, all I merely need to do is claim discomfort at the suggestive innuendo in your comment.

You have no defence nor recourse.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

What a joke, anything can (and is) considered harassment these days. It is legally impossible for a man to even attempt to pursue a woman these days, no matter what he says or does he's open to a harassment charge.

Don't pursue at work, simple as that.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

No Bush, you're just not doing it right. Be sweet and let her make the first move (or him). No means no. It's really not that hard.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

as a man I have been sekshually approached at work a few times but it does not bother me and I certainly won't make a federal case out of it. Somehow these numbers seem high. Perhaps the sensitivity of the new generation is too high.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Guys, please leave these women alone. We need them to be highky productive at wok, so they can earn the same men as men.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Burning BushAUG. 10, 2016 - 03:46PM JST That's harassment. I'm not kidding, if this were an office and you were my coworker, all I merely need to do is claim discomfort at the suggestive innuendo in your comment.

I'm going to need some evidence for that claim: specific wording of specific laws and specific, undisputed case history of someone actually being convicted before I'll believe you.

Unfortunately between sexist fearmongering over sexual harassment law and the rise of pick-up artists promising if you pay them enough money they'll teach you the secret techniques to force a woman to have sex with you even if she doesn't want to, there are a lot of people out there who want all interactions between men and women to be formalized into objective rules everyone has to follow. It's really sad that so many people still haven't grasped that both men and women are independent, free-thinking creatures who don't all react exactly the same way.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It's really sad that so many people still haven't grasped that both men and women are independent, free-thinking creatures who don't all react exactly the same way.

Agree, so let's define what harassment actually is, currently it's based solely on the perceptions and interpretations of people, neither of which is definable nor clear for others.

I'm going to need some evidence for that claim: specific wording of specific laws and specific, undisputed case history of someone actually being convicted before I'll believe you.

Evidence, look at the article, over 50% of woman claim to have been harassed, in all those cases, what percentage of the men actually knew that they were "harassing" the woman, maybe they just felt that they were make reasonable advances onto people they were interested in.

The woman interprets his advance as "creepy" even though from his end it may be genuine and in good faith.

There should be clear boundaries on what constitutes an "unwelcome advance" especially since the proposer has no way of knowing if his/her advance is welcome unless they try, and by trying they immediately risk being accused of harassment if the advance was unwelcome, which of course they had no way of knowing in the first place that it would be.

Set boundaries that are clear, fair and defined.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Burning BushAUG. 10, 2016 - 04:50PM JST Agree, so let's define what harassment actually is, currently it's based solely on the perceptions and interpretations of people, neither of which is definable nor clear for others.

We already define what harassment is, and it's very clear except to a tiny number of people who are either needlessly paranoid or trying to get away with harassment by pleading ignorance after the fact.

Evidence, look at the article, over 50% of woman claim to have been harassed, in all those cases, what percentage of the men actually knew that they were "harassing" the woman

Sorry, that's not evidence, that's speculation. It's not going to move the discussion forward.

Evidence, look at the article, over 50% of woman claim to have been harassed, in all those cases, what percentage of the men actually knew that they were "harassing" the woman

Maybe they should have paid a little bit more attention to the fact that a work place is not a place to be hitting on people and if you're going to take the risk of breaking the social protocol, you better be damn sure the other person is on the same page or face the consequences.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

We already define what harassment is, and it's very clear

I didn't know that, please define it for me.

Maybe they should have paid a little bit more attention to the fact that a work place is not a place to be hitting on people

So we've effectively regulated romance out of the workplace, even though there are millions of potential couples out there who should be able to engage in romantic activities as consenting adults without their employers or government interfering in their private lives.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

BB, I'm afraid you're going to have to get used to the fact that this is part of a feminised culture which holds men accountable for their every misdeed whilst women get a free pass.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Oh, FFS. The ignorance in this thread is shocking.

What does the law say?

Good question. Too bad your next line is utter rubbish:

If she "feels" uncomfortable, the man has committed harrassment.

Nonsense. There is not a single sexual harassment law in the world that defines harassment this way. I defy you to site one.

Harrassment is judged solely on the woman's subjective interpretation of the events.

Again, utter rubbish. Where did you get this impression? Did you just make it up? Because it comes off as a parody version of actual sexual harassment laws and policies.

Sexual harassment is usually defined in one of three ways: 1) Repeated, unwanted sexual advances - where you don't take no for an answer 2) Quid pro quo - aka, "sleep with me if you want that promotion"; and 3) Hostile Working Environment - where your repeated inappropriate behavior makes working with you unbearable

Taken literally, there is no court of law anywhere which would find sexual harassment in the scenario "Hey, would you like to go on a date" scenario you posted. In order for there to be sexual harassment the male co-worker would either have repeatedly have asked her out despite a refusal, engages in inappropriate behavior such as unwanted touching, obscene language, or threats, or the power dynamic/work environment would have to be such that she couldn't refuse without fear of retaliation. You don't stipulate any of those things, so no, not harassment.

Look. As you get older, it becomes harder and harder to meet people outside of work. I sympathize. On the other hand, work is a place for work, and professional conduct is the rule. Ladies are coming to work largely because they, like everybody else, need to earn a living. They are not there to provide you with a captive audience for your sexual or romantic advances. Relationships with coworkers are often a bad idea, totally irrespective of sexual harassment, simply because if the relationship sours you've suddenly put yourself and your coworkers in a very awkward situation. Still, workplace romances do happen, and that's OK. Just don't behave like you are at a club or a bar - you know, places where people actually go to find partners and getting hit on is more permissible. If you want to behave that way, you have the option of going to an actual bar or club - they exist, or you can explore the world of online dating. Just don't bring it to work, where people have no choice but to suffer your presence.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The people pooh-poohing this likely enough want issues like slavery to also be put "into context" as not nearly so bad as it is painted.

"Those over-sensitive and lying... women!" is the tone taken by them here.

It wasn't until fifty that I'd collected enough personal stories - and bothered to actually think about what they and the statistics meant in human terms - that I really turned the corner and understood even an inkling of what every woman seems to go through, just living a quiet life and getting around town.

They clearly haven't, and may not ever, given the sneering and victimized way, say Burning Bush (endlessly) and roughneck (once was too much), go on about an article that means nothing w/o context, though it hints at a still real and pervasive and SOLVABLE problem

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Out of the office whoops

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nonsense. There is not a single sexual harassment law in the world that defines harassment this way. I defy you to site one.

Here is the UK definition.

It states that harassment occurs where there is unwanted conduct on the ground of a person's sex or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature and that conduct has the purpose or effect of violating a person's dignity, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.

Any one single benign romantic advance could easily constitute harassment based on that definition.

I challenge you to pen a romantic advance that could not be interpreted as harassment as defined in the UK.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

As for the definition of harassment Just remember, if you are an old, ugly and low-status John Doe it is harassment and if you are George Clooney it's not.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Too many thin skinned little snowflakes in the workplace these days that get upset at any slight remark in boisterous workplace banter. Man up, if you cannot take the heat, get the hell out of my kitchen.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Burning BushAUG. 10, 2016 - 09:28PM JST Here is the UK definition.

It states that harassment occurs where there is unwanted conduct on the ground of a person's sex or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature and that conduct has the purpose or effect of violating a person's dignity, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.

Burning BushAUG. 10, 2016 - 09:28PM JST Any one single benign romantic advance could easily constitute harassment based on that definition.

If you can't make a "benign romantic advance" without "conduct has the purpose or effect of violating a person's dignity, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them", then your problem is with you, not with sexual harassment law.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Workplace sexual harassment in the UK is a criminal offense....Not a case of three strikes and you are out, nope, it is one strike and you are gone, facing possible legal recourse and incarceration.

When I first joined a financial institution in the City of London the Spearmint Rhino brigade were in the process of being culled. The Equality Act 2010 meant that a broker or dealer so much a waved his didgeridooda in a unsuspected wanton manner in my direction and phone call later he was out on his ear.

Workplace bullying and harassment..... .. <https://www.gov.uk/workplace-bullying-and-harassment >

The TUC and have a clear political agenda and has little or nothing to do with sexual harassment in the work place, but to reinstitute three key points that would amount to a Lawyers Charter ....scroll down ....

aAbolishing employment tribunal fees to give more people access to justice – it currently costs £1,200 to take a case to court.

b Reinstating provisions in the Equality Act which placed a duty on employers to protect workers from third party harassment – perpetrators of sexual harassment are often customers, clients or patients, who women working in sectors like retail, hospitality, healthcare, care and transport deal with on a daily basis. They currently have little protection from their employer when facing harassment, so reintroducing a duty on employers to act where an employee is being harassed by a third party would be an important step in tackling workplace sexual harassment.

c Giving employment tribunals the power to make wider recommendations – employment tribunals used to have the power to make recommendations for the benefit of the wider workforce, not just the individual claimant, in relation to discrimination claims. In workplaces where a culture of harassment has been allowed to flourish or where organizations have failed to respond adequately to complaints of harassment, the power to make wider recommendations would be of great benefit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Apologizes....The base/original TUC article link missed

Nearly two in three young women have experienced sexual harassment at work, TUC survey reveals

https://www.tuc.org.uk/equality-issues/sexual-harassment/gender-equality/nearly-two-three-young-women-have-experienced

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A male colleague of mine was riding his bike after work one day when a male approached him and cupped his buttocks. My colleague thought he may have know the guy and thought it was a joke, only to realize that, no, he didn't know him, and no, it wasn't a joke. The whole incident occurred quite quickly. What I found interesting, was the number of women at my office who thought this was hysterically funny. Would they have felt the same way if my colleague had been a woman? I wonder. Just saying.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm surprised the number of women saying they've been sexually harassed at work is so low. Every job I've worked I've has sexual harassment of varying degrees - inappropriate sexual comments, touching and threats. Now I complain and it's taken seriously, when I started working it was not. I work with the public and many male clients are worse harassers than colleagues, they think because they are a customer and supposedly always right they can say and do what they like.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sexual harassment in the work place exists. I've seen it. From serious and relatively minor. We all have.

But, sexual harassment is like pornography: hard to define, but you know it when you see it.

One person's playfulness is often another's uncomfort.

Company culture and legal attempts to remove flirtation from the work-place is rife with problems.

And since what is sexual harassment has evolved, and where one person's line is different than another's, and one culture's different than another, this is a problem that will not go away anytime soon.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@burningbush

I ask you to cite a law, and you give me a website. If you had actually read the text of the law in question (the Equality Act 2010), you would have found the following relevant caveat:

(4)In deciding whether conduct has the effect referred to in subsection (1)(b), each of the following must be taken into account— (a)the perception of B; (b)the other circumstances of the case; (c)whether it is reasonable for the conduct to have that effect.

What does this mean? It means that it isn't entirely up to the perceptions of the alleged victim, as you have claimed. The court also takes in to consideration the nature of the conduct and he circumstances surrounding said conduct.

Do yourself a favor and read the damn thing for yourself: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/26

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@bad2 US ... superior might be ladies. Japan male superiors are places to play after work,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The court also takes in to consideration the nature of the conduct and he circumstances surrounding said conduct.

Right,The perception of the alleged victim is one element of what we in the US term a " 'multi-factored balancing test"

The other elements are called "the totality of the circumstances," in the US, and "the objective" standard.

Which, in effect, means Act, or Statute, or whatever, really just states things rather broadly and turns the real decision making over to the courts, who work it out over a series of rulings, and appeals, and so forth.

In the US, and I believe in the UK as well, the appeals courts near universally uphold the trial courts findings of the 'totality of the circumstances" and the 'objective' finding of someones intent and how someone should feel and act in a given situation. [by should, I mean that if they act in ways that make them criminally liable by the objective standard, their liberty will be infringed on by the state].

The reasoning is the jury, or the judges in a bench trial, are hearing the direct testimony, seeing how everyone acts and responds, (facial expressions, nervousness, etc, etc, etc) in short, judging witness credibility,and then weighing the presented facts, etc.

Simply put, the trier of fact in the first trial is, it is assumed, best positioned to judge the perception of the parties, the circumstances of the case, etc, and determine weather the case has been made, and the burden of proof of criminality (or liability in a civil trial) has been met.

Finally, because the burden of proof in a criminal trial is, as we all know, "beyond a reasonable doubt," most juries are unlikely to find for the plaintiff unless they are pretty darn sure the deed was done. And that is why, with civil trials, where the burden of proof is "more likely than not," a jury can find someone liable for sexual harassment if they are pretty much in the middle, but only just a bit leaning towards guilty.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sexual harassment can include sexual jokes or innuendos, the circulation of pornography, inappropriate touching or unwanted sexual advances, according to the report

This is a really broad definition of harassment. Has it really gotten to the point where if a man in any way acknowledges the existence of a female it is considered a criminal offense? There is no way any man cannot be considered a misogynist and unfit for employment if any misstated sentiment or incidental contact that a women construes as sexual in nature can be considered "harassment". Harassment = the man is fired (and unemployable).

Certainly touching such as groping or touching on the knee in a certain manner can be considered inappropriate but this standard seems to imply any touching at all - even accidental - is wrong. Besides the obvious any contact by a man that a female considers "unwanted" can be used against that man and he has no recourse. Touching is one way people communicate (shaking hands, touching someone's shoulder, etc.) so apparently if a man does it women believe he must be eradicated from employment. A woman touches a man in a similar way - no big deal. That is the modern concept of equality. Certainly there are men that do bad things in the work environment but the vagueness of such surveys are intended to produce a shocking number that a group like Everyday Sexism can use to further their narrow interests.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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