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Risk, ‘psychic numbing’, and wellbeing take centre stage at Lloyd’s Register Foundation International Conference 2019

The Global Safety Podcast - Violence and Harassment in the workplace

Subscribe now to The Global Safety Podcast - our series exploring how experts keep the world safe.


Findings from the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll indicate that in some countries, as many as 75 per cent of female workers are concerned about violence and harassment in the workplace. For the latest episode of The Global Safety Podcast, Tom Heap is joined by a stellar all-female panel including Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, Jess Phillips, to discuss this significant threat to workplace safety. They delve into the shocking scale of harassment at work both in the UK and globally, address the likely causes and the issues women face when speaking out against perpetrators. We hear the voices of women who have been harassed and abused at work, and, with representation from the ILO and the UN, the panelists identify the most effective ways to bring about much needed and overdue culture change in this area.

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Episode transcript

Tom Heap [00:02:20] The women you're about to hear had gone to work. The women you're about to hear had gone to work. Choosing careers like nursing, banking or journalism.


Montage [00:00:00] It was a big guy, one of the main things he did was send me up to the screen, which was upstairs, had a key, and he would follow me for a few minutes so he would shut the door and lock the door, leaned against the door and he can grab me. And this happened on a regular basis.


Montage [00:00:23] There was a guy that were there and he used to basically just go up to girls in the office and kind of ping open labrum straps through the T. He did it to me and it was really embarrassing and horrible. And I was just really shocked about it.


Montage [00:00:43] He waited until I had things in both hands and then came towards me and came out from behind his desk, came towards me, put his hands on either side of my head. So he held my head and kissed me with an open mouth and tongue squarely on the lips. And then I can't remember what exactly happened at that moment. But I do remember leaving his office. And one of the things I very much remember is walking past his assistant because there was a part of me that felt, well, shame, actually, and that I suspected she probably knew what had happened.


Montage [00:01:28] It was mainly low grade harassment payme pens in my shirt pocket so they could get a quick profile, take them out my hands at the back of my skirt, see if I was wearing stockings, had everywhere in the pub after work, that kind of thing. It was so normal that thinking back, it seems that I felt a bit yucky after someone put his hand up my skirt and into my pants. But I was told I was overreacting.


Montage [00:01:54] And so I thought as long as the staff hostage called, one of the consultants used to warn us that he can't even walk with his patients when we were drunk, who was responsible?



Tom Heap [00:02:41] Stomach churning stuff, testimony from friends and colleagues that wasn't hard to find, and it's happening right on our doorsteps and, of course, around the world. In today's podcast brought to you by Lloyd's Register Foundation, we're going to be talking about the safety of women in the workplace.


Last year, Lloyds Register Foundation and Gallup staged their latest world risk poll, which threw up some shocking findings, namely that in some countries, 75 percent of female workers are concerned about violence and harassment in the workplace, whilst here in Britain, nearly two out of three young women have experienced sexual harassment at work. Campaigns like me two more times up UK have sprung up from anger and frustration at the slow pace of change. But the dangers facing women at work are not only linked to sex, many features and safety protocols of the workplace itself, a dessert are designed around men like machines, safety equipment, protective clothing, even hazard testing in 2021. Is it acceptable?


Tom Heap [00:04:45] So today, we'll be unpacking some of the key findings in the world risk poll, all of which relate to the safety of women at work, and we'll establish what is being done and what should be done to improve women's working lives.


Tom Heap [00:04:57] And we have a stellar lineup. Joining me from many parts of the world.


[00:05:04] We have Halschka Graczyk, from the Occupational Safety and Health Team at the United Nations International Labor Organization.


Hilda Palmer was named most influential person in health and safety for 2020. In a recent poll, and for over 30 years, Hilda has been campaigning for safer workplaces, especially for women.


Jess Phillips is MP for Yardley in Birmingham, also shadow minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding. In 2018, she launched the Not the Job campaign to demand zero tolerance for sexual harassment in the workplace.


Alison MacDermott is an independent strategic diversity and inclusion consultant.


And last, but by no means least, Sarah Cumbers. Sarah Cumbers is from Lloyds Register Foundation, where she's director of Evidence and Insight.


Thank you all for joining me.


First of all, can I just get from each of you maybe an example of something maybe similar to what we've heard or something that illustrates the perhaps surprising perils faced by women in the workplace? Let's start with Hilda.


Hilda Palmer [00:06:23]  I think I've heard very many of the sort of examples that we have just horrifyingly had played to us, and they never get stale because they should not be happening and they are absolutely unacceptable. We hear those sort of stories all the time. And I think one of the most shocking things to me was in 2009, Timal, speaking at a national press conference, safety reps from civil service unions were talking about rapes that occurred on their work in their workplaces. That's obviously just the tip of the iceberg of the enormous amount of sexual harassment. One in two women face sexual harassment at work and reported 70 percent of LGBT workers have reported sexual harassment at work. And in the latest U.S. safety reports survey harassment, including sexual harassment, is the second most serious concern after stress, which is raised in workplaces.


Tom Heap [00:07:27] Thank you Hilda. Halshka from the International Labor Organization.


HALSHKA [00:07:33] I think one of the big issues here is that no matter what risk we're looking at, the workplace, whether that's ergonomic, physical, biological, chemical or psychosocial, going down to violence and harassment, we see that women are really facing the greatest burden.


[00:07:49] And this is really due to a number of factors. But first of all, we have to recognize that unfortunately women continue. There's a continuing view that women's work is less hazardous than that of men, and therefore there's less training, there's less education, there's less awareness raising. Women are also less likely to be at the top of the chains of command or part of trade unions and therefore have a lower voice when it comes to expressing problems at the workplace. There's also matters of higher level of exposures for certain tasks and then very importantly, a greater burden on the health outcomes when we're looking at reproductive hazards and things like this. So it's really the full picture and we need to be looking at all of the different risks that women face at the workplace.


Tom Heap [00:08:37] Jess Phillips, I'm sure you've encountered very many testimonies of this nature,.


Jess Philipps [00:08:41] A million things, and, you know, even this week alone, more and more every day I come into my inbox. I mean, I've met women who've been raped at work and then silence. I've met women. They've been routinely sexually harassed and abused at work just to have very, very rich CEOs literally tell them that they can throw as much money as they like at these women to shut them up and brag about it and feel proud that they can silence people with women, with board members doing nothing about it and signing off huge checks to silence people and not even quibbling about it. I've met victims of domestic violence where there is no protection for them in their workplace, either in legislation in the UK and globally. And I've met women where that meant that they were shot at work by the partner to women in the last three years, were executed by their partner at work in their workplace. So, yeah, the one thing I think that when when we look at regulation and legislation to have conversations about women's safety, we rarely remember that women go to work.


[00:10:09] It's as if women still only exist in the home.


[00:10:12] And we are domestic goddesses, which is nice that people think of us that way. But we think we should have this really 1950s ideals that and it wasn't even true in the 1950s that women don't go to work. And so we never think about safety legislation and women's safety are the same thing.


Tom Heap [00:10:34] Mm hmm. Alison, I can see you nodding extremely vigorously.


Alison McDermott [00:10:38] Well, yes, I agree and echo all of that. I think that's almost where to start.


[00:10:44] I mean, one of the things I've observed from the work that I do is that women's voices have women's voices have less credibility. So when women speak out often about the issues that they're experiencing in the workplace than they do so repeatedly, they're often heard or ignored. And yet sometimes when possibly a male ally, ally above that person will then pick up on the problems somehow and suddenly their voices are heard or the issues are taken in the consulting work that I do, I use this really simple model to draw attention to these issues, and it's called the aware cat model. So one of the pieces of work I did when I first work in organizations looking at these issues is to say to what extent are legis aware of the issues? And often they're not and often they are. And that's obviously, you know, it varies from organization to organization, but that that degree of awareness can can can change dramatically depending on the organization. And the next thing to do is to get them to care, because actually a lot of organizations are aware, but they simply don't have just the same, you know, and then the next thing is to make them die. So once they are aware that, say, a senior leader has behaved in a completely lawful and appropriate way, do they dare to do something about it? And often the answer is they don't. So I've now added a fourth element to my model, which is called Declare, because I think the way we're going to shift this style is organizations have to declare much more rigorously and much more transparency what they're doing on the subject. So, for example, something like two to three percent of internal grievances are upheld. And I think all organizations, particularly public sector organizations, should have to report on the amount of grievances that go through the organization and the percentage of grievances that are upheld. That one simple metric would drive quite a lot of attention and transparency on the issue.


Tom Heap [00:12:59] Sarah, I just wanted to give you a chance to come in. Obviously, the things we heard were anecdotal, although, as I said, they weren't easy. They worked hard to find. We didn't have to sort of select from the people who said, my life's been fine. But what are the stats telling you about this kind of thing?


Sarah Cumbers [00:13:17] And well, the world was full tells us that there's a there's a major issue and violence and harassment is an issue in pretty much every country in the world, both men and women. But shockingly, it's the gender gap that indicates that actually for many women at work, that it's it's really, really significant issue.


[00:13:39] I was quite surprised by the World poll data, although actually I really think about it. I don't know why I was surprised. You know, personally, in my second job when I was in my mid 20s, you know, experience to dinner with groping hands under the table. And, you know, at the time, I didn't do anything about it because, you know, these were senior people. This is a new role for me.


[00:14:01] And so I don't know why I'm surprised by it, actually, but I think that sort of gives you insight actually into the way women deal with these issues that it's felt to be something that actually shouldn't be talked about.


Tom Heap [00:14:14] Well, at the risk of making some of the audience feel uncomfortable, but I think that discomfort is justified in this case.


[00:14:20] Let's hear a few more of those testimonies.



[00:02:11] I worked with a press photographer, a man in his mid 60s, I was doing an article about a guy who had been on Pop Idol or one of those talent programs and had lost a lot of weight.


[00:02:28] And I wanted to get a picture of him with his old trousers that he used to wear, you know, the classic newspaper shot of someone skinny holding a massive pair of trousers to sort of illustrate how much weight they've lost. And that was the picture I booked the press photographer to go and get the photo. He came back with a photo of this young guy holding a trombone, which bore no relevance whatsoever to the story.


[00:02:58] So I tackled him on it. Why is he holding a trombone?


[00:03:03] The press photographer in front of the whole office turned round and he shouted at the top of his voice that if I didn't shut up, he would shove a trombone up my twat.


[00:03:14] I was twenty two, twenty three and utterly dumbfounded. I couldn't. I couldn't speak. He used my gender to humiliate me and to vent his frustration. He used my female anatomy.


[00:03:36] A senior manager chimed in, subtly bullied more junior female staff with lots of sexually charged banter and implied threats. It was the time of laddish and very pub based culture, lots of inappropriate touching, almost no more and not worth mentioning. Comments about clothing, body shape touching was endemic, pats on the bum, etc., etc.. This was still the norm in TV. When I arrived in the late 90s, I counseled various younger female colleagues about one particular manager. And this is the bit that makes me mad. Everyone knew, his managers knew, and nothing happened. It was dismissed as just him. None of what happened to me was really terrible. It was just endless groping banter. But it's the drip, drip of confidence destroying, uncomfortable undermining that has an effect for those who had it worse that must have affected careers and lives.


[00:04:35] I had a male colleague who used to come and put a hand on my shoulder when I was sitting on my desk. He'd be standing beside me or behind me, chatting to me about my work. He was right in my personal space. It sounds like a small thing, but it made me feel really uncomfortable and I winced inside every time he did it. I don't think it was meant in a sexual way. And I thought about saying something to him, but I thought he'd be mortified and offended. I'd even suggested it.


[00:05:02] To get out of the bank, the door was locked, obviously, being a bank, you'd have to ask somebody to let you out, and that was usually one of the managers because there were the key holders.


[00:05:14] So two or three of them would stand by the door and they'd let certain people out. But one or two of us weren't allowed to get out of the building unless we stopped them. And this was particularly disgusting thing.


[00:05:30] One of them had had all four. Ali says, I was just very gogerty.


[00:05:39] What shocks me most now is that none of us, we discussed it among ourselves, the girls, but it was just sort of, you know, none of us reported it and nobody felt that we could report it. And I guess part of us didn't want to get into trouble. But partly I don't think I mean, our boss was male or the kind of senior management were male. I think we probably didn't want to make a fuss. And nobody confronted him either about it. I just walked away embarrassed and and everybody laughed about it.


[00:06:10] And if you I mean, I remember feeling that if I didn't kind of laugh it off, then people would just think I had no sense of humor and I was being, you know, a bit precious about it or something.


[00:06:23] So long story short, he did the interview and he thought it was necessary to hug everyone on his way out. And I think most people don't particularly like hugging strangers. I certainly don't like hugging strangers at the best of times. And he insisted as he hugged me over my top, he he ran his hands up my back, which again was uncomfortable. And then in doing so, I sort of ran his fingers over the outline of my bra clasp and then pinned my bra strap and said, you know, I've got your bra.


[00:06:58] So, you know, hopefully what he knew what he was doing. And no one in the studio noticed at the time. And I felt so embarrassed and it really just happened so quickly that it seemed like nothing at all. But also in my world, it was just like I just couldn't focus on anything else. So I did actually tell the producer once we were off and the show was over and had gone home and they were really supportive. No one senior from that station ever approached me. So I'm not entirely sure if that did ever happen. I never properly asked about it or made a claim because ultimately I didn't want to jeopardize my career working at this station.


[00:07:42] It's not just what happens, it's how it makes you feel about yourself when you are thinking about what you did when that happened and if you feel like you could have done more or you should have done more or you should have done something differently, then it's not just about the experience. It's about how it changes your view of yourself.




Tom Heap [00:15:01] One of the common threads coming out of that was a lot of the people sort of said, well, I was disgusted or really uncomfortable or outraged, but I didn't really know what to do in 2021. Hilda, what should they do?


Hilda Palmer [00:15:14] It's actually really it's actually really difficult.


[00:15:17] There's really no clear law protecting workers, women workers at work there. It does come under lots of laws. The Equality Act is a harassment law. That's the Employment Rights Act on this health and safety at work law. But law is absolutely useless without enforcement and there's absolutely no enforcement of this.


[00:15:35] And if you ask to see if they are responsible for sexual harassment at work and trying to prevent it and they'll say no, the government has made the Equality and Human Rights Commission responsible and they have no powers to investigate, inspect or prosecute. So essentially, there is nobody doing this. So it's very, very hard for workers to know who to report to, who to call on. You can't really call the police and the police will be very interested in whatever's going on at work. So essentially, it's a huge crime that's affecting huge numbers of women. But there is absolutely no official sort of recourse. Obviously, if you're in a trade union, you can talk to your trade union and they are more likely to take action. And certainly from the husband's campaign and trade union point of view, we are we insist that this is a type of violence at work, which the agency should enforce. And it's also about prevention and that under the Health and Safety at Work Act, employers are under a duty to provide a workplace free from harm to the health, safety and welfare of workers.


[00:16:44] And that includes violence and sexual harassment, and that therefore there should be intervention by the Chinese authorities. The tyranny of the clock. OK,.


Tom Heap [00:16:55] Halshka you're very keen to come in on this.


HALSHKA [00:16:57] I was keen because there is something that the ILO has recently done and the ILO in twenty nineteen developed the first violence and harassment convention for the world of work.


[00:17:09] And this is really groundbreaking because this is the first time that the issue of violence and harassment within the world of work has been approached through a legal framework. And it is very unique in that it covers all types of violence and harassment, whether it's physical or sexual, psychosocial. And what's also essential here is that it shifts the blame and the burden of proof away from the victim and recognizes that, in fact, there is an institution where this took place. And therefore, just like that institution, the world of work is responsible for protecting us from things like asbestos or heavy metals or air pollution. It's also responsible for protecting us from things like violence and harassment. And so this was really a monumental step forward. This represents the first international legal framework that countries can adopt and implement. But what I completely agree that enforcement is key. So after we ratify actually implement this convention, we need strong occupational safety and health mechanisms like responsible labor inspection mechanisms, data collection. We need all of these systems in place. But at least we have the legal start right here.


Tom Heap [00:18:25] I just want to get back to you and talk about what you actually discovered in the world Risk poll, give me some of those statistics that were particularly pertinent.


Sarah Cumbers [00:18:35] I think one of the most shocking statistics for me came out of Australia, where we found that there was a significant gender gap with, I think, over 24 percent of women in Australia experiencing violence and harassment at work compared to around 11, 12 percent of men. And whereas with many of the risks that we looked at in the world respond, we found it was low income countries that where the experience was highest with violence and harassment, of course, that we see that actually there's still a major risk in high income countries as well. And you really would expect, as you rightly said, Tom, in 2021, that that this this this wouldn't be happening. And also, I think the shocking fact that this is, you know, many of the other risks we looked at, you know, accidental causes, mistakes, errors, et cetera. This isn't a mistake or an error. This is a human acting against another human in a place where they should be safe.


Tom Heap [00:19:33] Jess Philipps, you wish to come in,.


Jess Philipps [00:19:34] Yeah, I mean, just to say that, I mean, in the United Kingdom, very much the weight of getting any action on this falls entirely at the feet of the victim, who will almost certainly have to give up their job in order to take any sort of legal action. And even then, the law isn't really on your side and most people give up throughout that process because why would you do that?


There is very, very, very little protection in the United Kingdom currently against sexual harassment and violence at work. I asked the health and safety executive about it when we did an inquiry in parliament, and they basically just said that's not our responsibility. And I asked them specifically about women suffering violence from their partners and how at work we needed to be protected from that. They because it is the biggest killer of women in the workplace. And they said that's not our responsibility. To which I said ‘So you're telling me that if I was hit by a van, that would be you, but not if I was hit by a man. And I said yes.’


Sarah Cumbers [00:20:52] So can I can I come in and make a really important link, because there is absolutely a link here with broader health and safety.


[00:21:03] Yes, you know, the impact on the individual is is paramount, but there's also an impact on wider employees within an organization, but also the community at large when you're talking about high risk industries, because at the end of the day, if you haven't got the right safety culture, if people don't feel that they can speak out about these issues, they won't be speaking out about other issues either. We know that that's a very important leading indicator of safety, that in organizations where they have a strong culture where people can feel like they speak, they can speak out, that means that actually they have better safety outcomes. So there's absolutely no link between violence and harassment in the workplace and safety outcomes. And, you know, it impacts on the individual wasn't enough. That's really a really important reason why we need action on this.


Tom Heap [00:21:49] Now, I know I could see a lot of people want to come in, but there is going to be some discussion later on. Sir, I need to get through some of the structure of the show, so I had to do that. If you've got a point, I'm sure you'll be able to bring it in later, if that's okay.


Tom Heap [00:22:13] I want to play you a short interview we recorded with Elizabeth Broderick, and Elizabeth Broderick is a lawyer and chair rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls. She founded and convenes the Male Champions for Change Strategy, activating influential men to take action on gender equality. It is the middle of the night of Australia when we are recording this, so to spare her having to get up. We recorded a little chat with her earlier.



ELIZABETH BRODERICK [00:23:57] The problem is ubiquitous and the fact is that women are very reluctant to speak about it and they're reluctant to speak about it because they risk losing their jobs.


They risk being ridiculed, they risk being smear campaigns or what I call doxxing, having the personal details released onto the Internet in so many ways that women can be silenced and stigmatized if they dare speak out. And that's one of the reasons you won't hear about it.


The fact is, a huge power asymmetry operates in most workplaces and pretty much most workplaces across the world. You'll see men dominate it in the most powerful leadership positions. And if there are women in the organization, they'll be in more junior or less powerful roles. And that power imbalance, that gender inequality is one of the causes and indeed the consequence of violence and harassment at work. Sexual harassment or violence doesn't jump out of nowhere. It comes in cultures which allow demeaning attitudes about women, which allow insults masquerading as jokes, which allows the objectification of women, sexualized work environments which include pornography, sexting.


So they're all examples of environments where sexual harassment, it's much more likely to occur that at the heart of sexual harassment is a power imbalance between men and women, and that is about men in powerful roles of women in much less powerful roles. Having said that, sexual harassment can come from a work colleague is at the same level. I mean, it can potentially even come from someone who is reporting to you. But most of the countries that are collecting strong data would have that power imbalance as core to most examples of sexual harassment and violence.



Alison McDermott [00:26:04] I just want to give a real current example, actually, about the asymmetry, resources and the intimidation that is used to silence people. So and this is something I can share because it's in the public domain. But as I mentioned, you know, I spoke out about egregious abuses at Sellafield, some of which documented. And one of the things I had to do because I lost my job and my income is crowdfund to try and raise some of the legal fees, which I managed to do. And then I discovered that the governing body of Satterfield's had taken legal advice to see if they could shut down my crowdfunding website. So I got that from my subject access request, so that's the extent to which people say someone like myself, who is a really experienced equalities consultant with masses of expertize, can lose her job and be silenced in this manner for speaking out about the beast is what chance to an ordinary person stand. He possibly has just joined the organization. And so there is not a lack of support for people who are being victimized, but also for those who speak out on behalf of those who are being victimized as well. So the problem is truly systemic.


Tom Heap [00:27:13] Jess Phillips, is there any suggestion that, albeit too slowly, we are going in the right direction? I ask this because we are seeing more women in more senior positions in companies. Some of the anecdotes we heard from earlier clearly referred to considerable times past and said things like, I'm amazed I wouldn't have done this. Today is like albeit we're not in the right place. Are there some good examples of good practices or changes we can take some hope from?


Jess Philipps [00:27:43] There are individual places that have better policies and better procedures and and a more robust way of dealing with this.


[00:27:52] There are individual examples of good organizations doing a good job without question over all legislatively. No, we have not. And the Metoo movement, which is a bit not dissimilar to the sort of moment that we feel at the moment around violence against women and girls following the death of Sarah Everard, the May two moment felt like that, but didn't then lead to a single change for safety in the workplace in the United Kingdom, that there was lots and lots of proposals made, such as making it a statutory duty to prevent sexual harassment, which would mean that if an organization hadn't prevented it, then it would be easier to take a claim against an employer and an organization that was roundly rejected. And I'm afraid to say and there is some I'd say there's a tiny fraction of light being granted, enormous clout with regard to domestic violence policy in employment, but very, very small steps, for example, now as well as of hopefully in the next few weeks when the legislation finally passes and orders like restraining orders would cover you at work, whereas before they did.


Tom Heap [00:29:22] So I want to any if you can come back. But I'm going to be straight with you in my working life, I haven't personally come across or heard about a lot of this. Now, is this because I am lucky, blind, male or all three of those?


ALL [00:29:38] All three or three. Now, all three are definitely?


TOM HEAP: Would you add naïve to the list?


Hilda Palmer [00:29:47] Yes, probably, probably I'm I'm a 69 year old woman and I have experienced sexual harassment from the age of eight in innumerable guises at work, in the environment everywhere. And everybody else on this call will know this. And I've internalized the normalized most of it and couldn't even begin to regurgitate it. We all know this is huge. It's absolutely massive. You know, we know half of women at work, according to the TUC surveys have experienced this and there is almost nothing being done. I think it's wonderful what else you're saying. The ILO Convention 1.0 on on violence and harassment agenda, gender violence. It's really important that this is ratified and that action is taken. But in this country at the moment, it's a free for all in terms of sexual harassment. The HRC will not take it up. And the AHRC, which is which is designated the leading enforcement, can't do a damn thing. So I think things have got worse. As I said, I'm six and my daughter's thirty, and she faces, I think, more harassment, more sexual harassment than I did when I was her age. And I'm absolutely furious.


Tom Heap [00:31:03] Halshka?


HALSHKA [00:31:04] I know. And I want to bring up something that you mentioned, that it's this horrible issue of normalization and it's exactly that. It's that this is something that has become so intrinsic in the workplace that it's difficult to even know where to start. And this is where the idea of instituting a preventative safety and health culture is absolutely fundamental, no matter what the risk is. But even more specifically for violence and harassment, we need to make sure that we're doing a culture change from inside out. This can start at the national level through legislation, but it must trickle down to enterprises and there has to be responsibility taken for the actions that occur in the workplace, just as the risks that take place from any other hazardous exposure. This has to be in the forefront and we need more people speaking up. So we need more advocacy.


[00:31:53] But just to quickly touch on the point of the ILO convention and that the situation in the UK, this is where we need advocacy, we need workers unions, we need employers organizations to come together and work in this tripartite structure and pressure the government to look at this convention as something that many countries have already ratified. And if it can't be ratified, it can still be adopted to specific local legislation.


Tom Heap [00:32:17] I do want to move on to issues, wider issues, not just issues to do with sexual harassment and those kind of threats at work over time.


Jess Philipps [00:32:25] You worked for the BBC and you it's charming that you think that you've never come across sexism because the way they say Ackroyd famously never said I'd not come across I hadn't come across sexism because the BBC is quite famously been a poor example, I would say, in this regard.


[00:32:44] Yeah, yeah.


[00:32:47] I'm reporting as long as I see it. And I obviously I.


[00:32:51] Fair enough.


Sarah Cumbers [00:32:52] I just want one point, Tom, just to bring this out of the workplace to serve just a couple of moments, because in the UK at the moment this week, we've got an enormous story that's broken about rape culture in schools in the UK and and thousands of teenage girls saying that actually this kind of abuse at school. So it's surprising that actually when they get to work, they're not speaking out if it's been ingrained in us from such a young age. So absolutely, we're talking about today in terms of action in the workplace.


Tom Heap [00:33:26] Actually, I need to keep it to the workplace. Otherwise we'd have for three hours on this. I'm sorry to be that. It's not me being tyrannical. It's the clock. I really do need to keep to that. Sorry. Right.


Tom Heap [00:33:41] The threats facing women in the workplace are not limited to the extraordinary litany of things we've just heard. It's also about health or safety in a broader sense. And whilst we are currently in a pandemic, there is a kind of link that can be made here that a large proportion of the covid-19 frontline responders, they were women still are women, in fact, and in desperate need of working people that actually fitted them. Have a listen to this.


SALLES [00:34:21] Here I am with all my people, my head. I just came out of the unit, so I took off my own gown and gloves. You see, I've got these goggles a little bit big on my face. I've got my end. Ninety five, which is the mask under here. This is a new mask, by the way. I've just put it on for the sake of this video, but my head is small. This is a lot of equipment on my face. Anyway, I'll check back with more later. Basically, she can't see. She can't breathe. She can't do anything with it. She's wearing.


Tom Heap [00:34:49] And there is a book called Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez, who sadly was not available to join the panel today. She also touches on this, even a quick read of the back cover. In particular, if you're a man, you might be surprised by what you find. She claims that if you're a woman, your phone is too big for your hand.


[00:35:07] If you're a woman, your doctor prescribes a drug that is probably wrong for your body. And if you're a woman in a car accident, you're forty seven percent more likely to be seriously injured.


[00:35:20] Hilda palmer, you've worked in this world for a long time. Describe how we got to the I find some of these things just amazing, really.


Hilda Palmer [00:35:28] Yes, they are. They are absolutely amazing. And it's because of everything that everybody's been saying about the power relationship and the culture and misogyny and the fact that the default worker is taken to be male and women are not the default male. We're generally smaller. We have a lifetime of hormonal changes. We detox in a different way. We respond to chemicals in a different way. You know, we have our present where we're born and exposed throughout our lives. We have reproductive issues. All these sorts of things are generally smaller than men and almost everything at work from payme as we as we well know, from the kind of crisis. But riot gear, chairs, workstations, tools, absolutely everything is made for the default man that those housekeeping trolleys that you see in hotels that people carry, that the workers carry everything around, they're generally made for a Caucasian man, never does a job like that. Then they're they don't fit most Caucasian women, but they certainly don't fit people of different ethnicity who usually end up doing those sorts of jobs and therefore are more likely to get to develop terrible musculoskeletal disorders. It's a really, really big problem. And it's one that should be solved by making, you know, accepting the fact that women are workers as well and making sex and gender assumptions, as Halshka was saying earlier, about women's work generally being lighter, easier, less risky, all that sort of stuff, which isn't really true when you break it down. And Karen Messing in one eyed science revealed all this a very long time ago. That has to become central, has to become central to health and safety at work. It is at the moment, I'm wondering a big problem.


Tom Heap [00:37:09] I heard even that crash test dummies are always male. And when it comes to women, they just use a, you know, a twelve year old boy as the women.


Hilda Palmer [00:37:20] Women are too difficult. All this work on my own manual handling is assumes that women don't have any breasts. So it's all ridiculous.


Tom Heap [00:37:28] But that does bring me onto an interesting point, which I did raise at the beginning. And I'm going to come to Sarah on this. The figures are that men are 23 times more likely to be killed at work than women. Now, is that because generally men do jobs that are hazardous?


Sarah Cumbers [00:37:45] Certainly, the World Risk poll shows that a great number of men work in hazardous industries. Yes, but at the end of the day, you also working in those industries, too.


Tom Heap [00:37:55] And I want to come on to that story that you wanted to come in.


HALSHKA [00:37:58] And just to note that there's also been I thought, again, it's important to note that also when it comes to reporting, women are less likely to report incidents at the workplace.


[00:38:10] And so these figures are very important, but sometimes they don't unleash the full picture of the hazards that women face.


Jess Philipps [00:38:18] And also, just to add to that, the murders that I'm talking about wouldn't have been considered to be deaths in the workplace caused by the workplace. They would have been considered to be domestic homicides. So wouldn't be counted. They wouldn't be counted.


[00:38:31] So the violence that women suffer at work for both, both physical and mental, won't be being counted.


Alison McDermott [00:38:40] Can I give a really quick example, which is, you know, it's another kind of trauma which is hidden.


[00:38:48] And I was about five years ago, I was running some focus groups with women and a big blue chip organization at a senior level. And I did a group of men and a group of women, and I'd asked them in advance to see if they'd be willing to declare.


[00:39:00] So taking out the antidepressants and 85 percent of the women were on anti-depressants, 10 percent of the men were antidepressants.


[00:39:08] Now I know it's the small group, so it was about 20 in each group, but it was still quite significant. And I continue to ask these kind of questions and a lot of women self medicating to get through the world's work.


Tom Heap [00:39:20] Part of the reason I mentioned that statistic a moment ago is presumably, as we see greater equality in the workplace and more women move into more hazardous areas, we're going to need to really make sure we've got this design for safety, PPA and all those things working for women. We.


Hilda Palmer [00:39:38] Yes, you'd imagine so, wouldn't you? But tell that to the HSA and the government.


Jess Philipps [00:39:46] I don't think we need to worry about it so quickly that women in construction, for example, it's like two percent. It's the trickle down economics of gender equality and that it trickles incredibly slowly. It wouldn't fill an egg cup, let alone a bath very fast.


[00:40:01] But yeah, absolutely.


[00:40:02] For those few women that make it through into the more highly paid risky work, then yeah, that we definitely need to look at making sure that this stuff fits them.


[00:40:15] I think it was today the armed forces announced that they were going to make uniforms that were just men's uniforms for women. But how many years of women.


[00:40:26] But in the armed forces, quite a long time. I'd wager.


Hilda Palmer [00:40:30] I could. I just had a point about counseling. It's really important the issue about men tending to do the more hazardous work and so therefore more likely to be killed in incidents at work is another example of the bias in the way we actually record these statistics. The fact is that more people are harmed in by illnesses at work, by women are much more likely to be harmed in those sort of ways. So even the way we count the statistics on the HSBC is really sex blind. That is not actually counting, it's not counting all the all the workers who were killed. About fifteen hundred workers are killed in work related incidents every year. Well over fifty thousand die from work related illnesses. And so that way of looking at work and its hazards from just what people who die in incidents is another example of sex gender bias.



Tom Heap [00:41:44] I want to move into the solutions place and I can't all come to you first.



[00:00:00] Gender equality, creating more gender equal countries is about the redistribution of power. So if we want to work with power, we need to work with men because it's not not exclusively, but largely they hold the levers of power. So it's about men taking the message of gender equality to other men. We started small with about six men. We now have about 270.


[00:00:23] They lead the major institutions, not just here in Australia, but in in the US, in the UK, Europe and some in in South East Asia. They come together to share experiences, to learn together. That's based on the premise that no one of us will ever be as good as all of us acting together. So what can what can we do collectively? And one of the areas they've really gone into very strongly in the last year is disrupting the response to sexual harassment and sexual violence. So they've totally changed the way they deal with the issue of violence at work, you know, in in their responses. And just to give you one indication of that, in the past, those issues of sexual harassment might have been dealt with as a workplace grievance. That's no longer the case. These are now leadership issues for the board and the CEO of the organization. They're attached to the workplace health and safety agenda, which means that serial perpetrators of this behavior are now workplace hazards and it's incumbent on everyone in the workplace to do something about a workplace hazard. And you where we've gone to is to really increase the level of transparency about what's happening. So to be totally transparent that sexual harassment is happening if it's found to be proven, individuals at the senior level are named. They're not paid a big payout to leave and spend more time with their family. They're actually exited with no payout. And that's really changing the picture of sexual harassment in Australia. And one of the main areas, I think, that has shifted is no longer non-disclosure agreements. What we now have is for the individual who's a victim of a sexual harassment or violence. Her ability to tell her own story in her own words at a time of her choosing is to be preserved because in the past, organizations used non-disclosure agreements to protect the reputation of the organization, to protect the reputation of a perpetrator. But in the future, I think that's less and less likely to happen. So this is not about rescuing women or saving women. You know, women can do that very much themselves, but it's about working in partnership with women and taking a zero tolerance approach to any disrespect.


[00:02:54] I think there's really two ways we can get them to change. The first way is for other men to call them out, because we are you know, you think, well, why would they do that? They do that to raise their status in the group often. And if another man calls them out, not only are they not raised their status, their status has actually plummeted. So that's the first way. But the second way that I've worked with men who just don't see this is to help them understand the human harm that they're causing. And just to give you an example of that, when I led a major review into Australia's military, I met women all across the world and our country and in deployed environments who had experienced, you know, sexual misconduct, sex, rape, violence in the service of a nation. So what I did is I flew those women in from all across the world to sit down with the most powerful men in the organization to actually describe what is it like to be sexually assaulted. When you go on exercise, what is it like to have your career trashed because you had the courage to speak out and, you know, you can dismiss data in a spreadsheet, but you can't dismiss someone's lived experience, particularly when you're sitting right with them, listening as one human being to another who cares deeply about our right to be safe at work. So I think the ability to take the case for change from men's heads to their hearts, to logit in their heart so so that they feel it, so that they hear it, that's when you can get even the most conservative and unaware individual to understand their own behavior and the human harm that's happening on their watch.


[00:04:36] There's so many things that we can do. Firstly, every country needs strong laws making sexual harassment, sexual violence absolutely prohibited in workplaces. Not only that, we need the collection of good data to to see how often it's happening and what the response is like. We need good complaints mechanisms and we need to make. Make it safe for women to access those complaints mechanisms. We need good education in schools about gender equality, about the equal place of boys and girls and men and women in our society. And for me, that starts in the family. I mean, you know, whether or not you believe fundamentally in gender equality, those attitudes are instilled in you, right, from about the age of three when you start to develop what we call a gender schema. So a deeply held belief system about the place of boys and girls and men and women in in society, in the family and how I get that schema as I look at how Mum's treating dad and vice versa. The role of the parents is so very important because what you model as a couple, whether it's same sex or opposite sex, your children will take into their adult life. So the expectations of your daughters, the attitudes of your sons. So that's absolutely where it starts. And I think often that is missing from the conversation. We're putting it all on the schooling system or indeed on the workplace and in the workplace. And bystanders are very important. They are people who are witnessing this behavior or indeed even the micro moments of what I call everyday sexism. That is the demeaning attitudes about women. So those bystanders are jumping on that conversation and saying, no, mate, that's not how we do things around here. So they're very important. But for me, it I believe human rights starts at home. It starts right back in the family.



Tom Heap [00:42:22] Well, let's get some ideas in the solutions space Jess, I'm quite sure you could you could write a book on this, but some of your your your headline solutions to try and turn this.


Jess Philipps [00:42:33] I think that transparency is really key. So I want it reported in businesses when they for example, after that, they've given parts to people for leaving their jobs, whether that's for maternity or for harassment. I think they should have to list that and that would end.


[00:42:49] So transparency is really key, but there needs to be proper legislative change that that puts it on the employer, not the employee, and makes it a statutory duty to protect, not just react.


Tom Heap [00:43:04] And is it possible to say that a sentence, what that law would outlaw, in effect, what it would say?


Jess Philipps [00:43:10] Well, it would it would outlaw sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. And what it would mean was that an employee could take action against their employer if they had failed to protect. They had failed to put in place action to stop sexual harassment. This isn't just about waiting for it to happen and dealing with it properly. What are they doing to stop it from happening in the first place? Are they. Is there mandatory training on gender roles and respect? What what employer would have to prove that they've done everything to prevent it and most don't do anything?


Tom Heap [00:43:45] It's interesting. It's just like the health and safety space. You need to be proactive about things and you need to do that. Thanks very much, Hilda.


Hilda Palmer [00:43:53] So I think it's clearly got to be a collective action, it's got to be about changing the culture right from birth up through schools, into the workplace, trying to combat misogyny and trying to break down some of these power relationships. But obviously, there's got to be a very specific law which makes it the employer's duty to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, which then gives trade unions powers to actually follow that up, hold them to account, make them develop proper policy to prevent training, proper recording and supporting of people who are suffering, all that sort of thing. And there has to be a proper code of conduct that set lays that out and real enforcement by the HSBC, which has to be properly funded to actually do this. I should just remind everybody that the enforcement of health and safety, all types of health and safety, has absolutely crashed in this country. Our system is virtually broken. On the way in which the HST has dealt with the covid pandemic actually exposes that utterly. And we are in a really, really bad way. And it all needs to be replenished with specific laws, specific enforcement, and get the trade union movement involved. And for every individual woman, join a union, be part of something collective where you can actually work for a better working environment and you'll have some support if anything goes wrong.


Tom Heap [00:45:15] Alison, something I wanted to put to you, I mean, I'm sure you've got your own ideas of solutions, but are we likely to see some of this being improved by, as I mentioned earlier, more women getting to more senior positions in companies? Is that going to be relevant at all to solving these issues?


Alison McDermott [00:45:35] I think it obviously is a factor and it will have a bearing, but I think that's going to take a long time to shift the dial. So we need to take action now. And that's again putting the onus on women to sort this out. The women in charge can now sort this out, whereas actually it's not women's responsibility to sort this out.


[00:45:55] As others have said, it's the organization's responsibility.


[00:45:58] It's the government's responsibility to make sure that these are safe, productive workplaces, which, as you've heard today, so many people have said that is not the case. And I think transparency is really important. And I think metrics are really important. You know, you care about what you measure when you measure what you care about. What are the metrics that allow us to determine where an organization is in this space rather than give me an example of what you'd like to see them as a metric.


[00:46:26] So as I mentioned earlier on, I would like to see a metric that says, you know, there are some simple metrics around percentages, women, et cetera. But I'd like to see what is the attrition rate for women published. I'd like to see what I can pull out from work. Yeah, what what what about the amount of grievances that people have taken out through the organization and what percentage of these have been upheld?


[00:46:48] That would be a really simple measure. The amount of money that it's like just talked about around paying people off, having to disclose that so it's no longer swept under the carpet and that it becomes much more transparent and much more measurable. Because at the moment I do approve and I do agree with the need for more legislation. But actually it is culture. It is metrics. It is transparency is to a certain extent naming and shaming companies who are really bad in the space. That's also going to make a difference as well. My husband is Norwegian, for example. He's appalled at the level of lack of protection in this country and the level of casual sexism that he has experienced since he's moved to this country. And he said women in his country just would not put up with this. But we are putting up with it.


Tom Heap [00:47:35] Halshka


HALSHKA [00:47:38] I think what we need are inclusive, integrated and gender responsive approaches, and this needs to be done through legal frameworks. So this needs to come at the national level, but it also needs to trickle down to the workplace level where we can implement comprehensive occupational safety and risk assessments.


[00:47:55] Sorry, I'll repeat that, where we can implement comprehensive occupational safety and health risk assessments that take a broader approach to understanding all of the risks that are present at the workplace. It doesn't make sense to focus only on one risk and not look at things like violence and harassment. So we need a really inclusive approach at the workplace level. And what's very important when it comes to risk assessments is that they warn you of the risks before they can incur the harm. And this is very important in regards to prevention, because once the harm has happened, you cannot go back. The damage has been done. And for this reason, we need preventative actions as the most important and fundamental mechanisms at the workplace level. I also want to bring attention to the importance of having a tripartite mechanism for negotiation. So we've talked about trade unions, employers, organizations and the government, and the ILO supports this open dialog between these three groups in order to make sure that any action that's taken is validated by all three groups and is accepted and therefore more likely to succeed.


Tom Heap [00:48:59] Sarah Cumbers, you're in effect convening this this debate, this organization through Lloyd's foundation. What do you take away from this? Maybe some some solutions that can be worked on by business.


[00:49:11] It may be maybe particularly business women and men who are listening to this.


Sarah Cumbers [00:49:16] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think the start of it is the ILO's convention, 190 launched last year, put pressure on you, on your organization to put pressure on your government to ratify it. It's a really simple step that organizations can take to to show very high profile level that actually they're taking this seriously. I'm going to support everything that's been said about about legislation. But I also wonder if if actually if the people that are listening to to this podcast, actually, particularly the men, are thinking, what can I do about this as an individual? We can all take responsibility for this. Culture change starts at home and it starts with calling out behavior that doesn't feel right, not going with the crowd and supporting individuals. You know, whether you male with your female, you see something that isn't right. Don't talk to the individual. Be brave about it and and put it out there half the conversation. Because, you know, transparency is is also going to be really important in helping us to overcome this.


Tom Heap [00:50:14] One thing I find really instructive in this, and I know Hilda thinks that the health and safety workers has weakened recently, but considering this as a safety issue at work, I find quite instructive because like it or I have to confess, sometimes I don't like it. Health and safety culture has changed. The way I work has changed our workplaces to an enormous degree in the last 20 years and maybe it does need to be considered in that way. It becomes part of the structure and the atmosphere in which we work. I got the kind of idea of something that could help.


Hilda Palmer [00:50:48] Well, I think that's I think that's right, because sexual harassment causes harm. It is a health and safety issue. It damages people's health, can damage their physical and their mental health. And therefore, it is a health and safety issue. And it fits in that within that framework and it fits within the framework of employers being under a legal duty to take preventative action and to consult and to work with their workers and trade unions where they are there and to try to prevent it. The point is, if we want to prevent this and there are other structures that they just have to be properly activated and properly resourced and funded and there has to be a very clear law at the moment. There isn't. And yes, health and safety has changed enormously and improved. But over the last 10 years, we've actually gone backwards massively with health and safety being deregulated and enforcement now receiving less than 50 percent of the funding it had in 2010. And we are in a very, very difficult situation which led to things like Grenfell and the fact that during covid workers have not been protected and therefore the public health hasn't been protected as well. We're going backwards, but we need to reinstate that tripartite structure Halshka was talking about. And we need to have proper funding so that we've got enough inspectors who can go into workplaces and work with employers and work with workers to develop these preventative structures and then to enforce where they are not being not being implemented.



HALSHKA [00:53:18] Have a quick comment that we didn't touch on, but I thought we might be so clearly, human rights are workers rights and workers rights are human rights.


[00:53:26] And therefore, at the workplace, we should be protected and ensure that our safety and health are well considered. But there's also a huge business case for protecting the safety and health of workers and looking at violence and harassment, because workers that feel safe when they come into the workplace are much more likely to be more productive, less likely to have absenteeism, presenteeism issues. And so there's not just the human rights case, but really a clear business case.


Tom Heap [00:53:54] Absolutely. I just remembered a provocative one I wanted to throw in there. So I'm going to do it anyway and see who ends.


[00:54:10] Something I've heard from female friends, colleagues, members of my family on this is that they sometimes feel this narrative paints women very much in the kind of victim space, in the slightly snowflake space that they that they feel they are actually able to cope with a little bit of this. And they don't like the feeling that they're always made to feel that they can't. Is anybody got a response to that?


Hilda Palmer [00:54:42] Oh, dear, oh, dear, yes, of course, there's a there's an element of that, and as as a young woman, certainly I fought viciously against all of that. But we're not really we're not really talking about that. We're talking about women who are in positions where they can stand up for themselves. And that's fine.


[00:54:59] But we're talking about systematic sexual harassment of women on an absolutely industrial scale, which is not just about individuals. We know from what Alison has said, that the most experienced and most capable among us can can be subject to this. And the fact is, nobody should come to work and have anybody do anything to their body or say anything about them. It should be just so culturally unacceptable that it should never happen. And so I don't really think I don't really think that's a terribly serious issue. We're not saying that women are pathetic or shrinking violet. We're saying, you know, when you go to work, go to work, you should have some bloke try to kiss you or shove it down your pants or lock you in a cupboard with him. That's what we're talking about. Or say you you're to zero hours contracts and you're not going to get your bloody hours next week unless you let your supervisor fondle you. This is what the reality is.


[00:55:58] And I'm really I'm really a bit.... Sixty nine. And I'm not having any more of that, I'm afraid.


Tom Heap [00:56:05] See why your campaigner of the year. Great stuff. Health care. You have come in on this idea that it perpetuates the idea of women, as always, victims of stuff,.


HALSHKA [00:56:15] The idea of sort of swallowing it and dealing with it and being fine with it.


[00:56:20] We know that long term low grade stress translates into physiological stress, and we know that there's higher levels of oxidative stress happening in workers that are harassed or have violent acts committed against them. And so in the long run, this absolutely has a huge health impact, even if we are trying to convince ourselves that this has no impact on us.


Tom Heap [00:57:01] You know, if someone's listening now and experiencing this sort of stuff, what should they do? I know Hilda talked about unions. I think I was there as well.


[00:57:09] I mean, are there any good Samaritans for both campaigns, for workers that people can call on this story wants to see if we can include them?


Tom Heap [01:02:53] What can people women do if they want help? Where can they go?


Hilda Palmer [00:57:21] Well, there aren't that. You know, there aren't really. I mean, that's the trouble.


[00:57:24] And all the help lines of every sort are so overwhelmed at the moment. I mean, you can try to talk to your CFA or talk to your talk to talk to your MP or depending on what the level of it, you can talk to a counselor, but you're not actually really going to get very far with any of those things. And really, your best protection is to be in a union, but there's no unit in your workplace. And that's actually very, very difficult. There are there are women's groups and local support groups that you can try to approach who can contact the House's campaign. But we can't not in any position to take on casework, but we could try to point people in the right direction. But, you know, as we've tried to explain, the framework for this is so the legal framework for this is so bad and the amount of statutory protection and institutions there to support women is so poor that it's not very easy to say where anybody should just go for help.


Alison McDermott [00:58:22] I think the other thing as well is I, I do agree about the need for a more robust and clearer and more effective legislation. But it isn't just about legislation because the nation needs to have some teeth behind it, so, you know, a lot of women will say, I spoke to my manager, I spoke to HR, I spoke to the regulator. I spoke to him after I met with a tone deaf response. And then my option is I can't put up with this anymore. So I have to resign and claim constructive dismissal. But I haven't got any money to afford legal advice. So not like my brother. He's a doctor. He's been watching what I go through, the whistle blowing thing to saying supposedly there is legislation, but if there's no enforcement behind it, that legislation is meaningless and you wouldn't expect a patient to go into a hospital and say, look, here's the infrastructure you need to operate on yourself. And that's that's the problem.


Tom Heap [00:59:16] Do big companies or should big companies have codes of conduct in this space?


Alison McDermott [00:59:21] They do have codes of conduct. Some of them do, but they don't. And so people say and meet with a tone deaf response from every senior official so you can have all the best legislation in the world, just as no teeth behind it and there's no financial support, then that legislation becomes pretty meaningless. So I would I would rather enforce the legislation we've got than actually spend more time on new legislation unless that new legislation is backed up by funding and by support, because women will quickly learn there's no point accessing the so-called legislation if it leaves them feeling more victimized.


Hilda Palmer [01:00:01] But I think that's why we need to pursue it in the workplace as a health and safety issue, and we can do that without changing the legislation, because the the duty on employers is to provide a workplace safe, free from, you know, risks to the safety of the health and the welfare of workers. And as trade unions, that's what we will be saying. And trade unionists will be without that specific legislation would be negotiating policies and procedures and monitoring and making sure that they work to prevent all of this. But it does make it easier if there is a very specific duty on employers, because, you know, if you if you're asking employers to do something and there is no specific law that tells them they have to do it, then in most cases they're not going to be able to do it. Naming and shaming can help, but it doesn't necessarily get you that fight.


Alison McDermott [01:00:54] I agree. But I think it also needs to be something early in my career, which is talk, which is about, you know, a VCM which we called a visible consequence management. So what are the physical consequences when organizations fail to comply? If you say if you take the employment tribunal process, you can often see that there are really terrible stories going through the employment tribunal processes. And all the tribunal can do is decide that this person has been victimized or not or suffered sexual harassment or not. And they may get compensation, but there are no consequences for the organization. Exactly. And the reinstatement and no reinstatement. But for the perpetrators, they still maintain their jobs. They should be a criminal offense. It should be a criminal offense for organizations to fail to provide proper working environments. And it should be compulsory that if the tribunal finds that someone has been bullied, sexually harassed and impacted on them, physical or mental health, whatever, there has to be visible consequences. Otherwise they'll just repeat it in even if they get as far as the tribunal, which is very rare. So there are no visible consequences. There need to be physical consequences.


Hilda Palmer [01:02:06] Absolutely. That's right. But health and safety law is criminal law. I mean, that is the point. And employers can be prosecuted for their failure to implement that, but rarely are.


[01:02:18] Unfortunately, that's the point. And that's that that's the issue that I was saying, is that unfortunately, we're in a state where prosecutions and enforcement actions against employers have gone down because we only have three hundred and ninety health and safety executive inspectors to cover the whole country and less than five hundred and fifty environmental health officers and local authorities to cover between two million and five thousand five million workplaces.


[01:02:44] So we have a health and safety system across all hazards, not just sexual harassment, but does not work.


Tom Heap [00:52:19] Well, thank you very much indeed to the panel, to Jesse Phillips, to Sarah Cumbers, to Hilda Palmer, Alison McDermott and Halshka graciously and to all of those voices we heard in this program. Let's try and make a difference so that future generations do not suffer in the same ways and our workplaces become welcoming and safe for all. Thank you.

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