The MU, as part of the This is not Working Alliance, has been campaigning for reforms to sexual harassment law for many years.
Last month, we were delighted when the Worker Protection Bill, led by Wera Hobhouse and supported by The Fawcett Society, reached its second reading in the House of Lords and seemed on a path to becoming law. However despite commitments from Government in the Commons to implement these changes, this Bill is now in danger and we need your help to save it.
Will you write to your MP today expressing your support for the Bill and tackling workplace sexual harassment?
In the Worker Protection Bill, employers will need to proactively prevent sexual harassment from occurring in their workplaces
The Bill intends to create a duty for employers to proactively prevent sexual harassment from occurring in their workplaces, and requires them to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment from third parties, such as customers or clients.
These changes will mean that women no longer have to take employers to a tribunal to ensure they deal with sexual harassment after an event has occurred. Instead, employers will need to protect their employees with proper policies and reporting procedures, and proper training for staff.
Recent revelations about shocking circumstances at the CBI have highlighted the need for all businesses to review whether they are doing enough to protect employees and deal with complaints sensitively and appropriately. Not only do these changes have cross party support, but they were also committed to by Government in 2021 - after extensive consultation.
The Bill in jeopardy
Despite this, amendments introduced in the House of Lords are putting the Bill in jeopardy. What’s more, they have mischaracterised the Bill and let down the women which the Bill seeks to protect.
Recent reports indicate that Government no longer supports the Bill and will not be able to find time it needs in the parliamentary schedule for it to get passed into law. This is not acceptable – women cannot afford to wait any longer for safe workplaces that treat them with dignity and respect.
MU signs open letter
Last week MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl signed an open letter, organised by the TUC’s This is Not Working Alliance, regarding concerns that the Worker Protection Bill is likely to fall, despite receiving initial support from the government.
The letter asks:
- Is the government still committed to introducing a preventative duty and protections from third party harassment?
- If the government is no longer supporting the bill as it currently stands, what alternative proposals will the government be tabling to ensure they meet their previous commitments to introduce these protections, as well as their obligations under ILO C190?
- If the government is intending to proceed with the bill, can you commit to ensuring that enough time is made in the Parliamentary calendar to pass in this session?
We need your support
We need your support to make sure the Government continues to prioritise this Bill by affirming their commitment to the changes it seeks to implement, as well as giving it the time it needs to pass through Parliament.
Writing to your MP only takes 30 seconds. Fill in your name and postcode via The Fawcett Society’s page, and they will produce a letter which explains exactly why your MP needs to lend their support.
Anyone who believes they have been the victim of inappropriate sexual or discriminatory conduct can contact MU Safe Space.