MP Jess Phillips launches #NotTheJob, a campaign encouraging people to share their experiences of sexual harassment and help to change the law
Labour MP Jess Phillips has launched a campaign #NotTheJob, to demand zero tolerance regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, no matter who the perpetrator is - client, customer, colleague or boss.
NotTheJob reinforces the fact that sexual harassment is not part of anyone’s job, noting that 'being a victim of sexual harassment at work can have a devastating impact on someone’s mental and physical health, as well as their working life.'
The campaign recognises that many incidents of sexual harassment go unreported with those who have experienced the behaviour looking to manage what happened to them on their own, as they are worried about losing their job or income, if they report an incident.
Although there has recently been widespread coverage of reported sexual harassment by public figures (including Philip Green, Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump) and in leading institutions, such as the House of Commons, the impact of harassment in other workplace environments remains largely unaddressed.
Research collated by the Women and Equalities Committee in July of this this year suggests that certain groups are more at risk of sexual harassment; young women aged 18-24, members of a sexual minority group or employees with a long-term illness and disability. Women working in retail, catering, hospitality, care, healthcare and transport are particularly affected.
Speaking to Happiful, Jess Phillips, a member of the committee, said: "This week shows us more than ever that we need structural changes to make #metoo mean something. It seems that still powerful rich men can act with impunity, bullying and harrassing without care.
Our #NotTheJob campaign is about hearing the voices of the low paid people, mainly women, who experience harassment and are abused as part of their everyday jobs serving customers
"But it's not always powerful men or big names. Our #NotTheJob campaign is about hearing the voices of the low paid people, mainly women, who experience harassment and are abused as part of their everyday jobs serving customers.
"We will use people's stories to build a picture that will help us take legal action and change our laws to make sure women are safe at work."
As the law currently stands in regards to sexual harassment, women are afforded different protections depending on who the harasser is, with victims receiving fewer legal rights if the perpetrator is a customer or client. Earlier this year, the Women’s and Equalities Committee challenged this, issuing recommendations for the law to provide the same protections for employees who are harassed by a third party.
Recommended changes to the law would see parity of esteem when it comes to sexual harassment policies in the workplace. Employers are currently obliged to ensure that the work environment is physically safe, that staff are working reasonable hours and that they are treated fairly. However, the campaign argues, employers 'need to ensure a robust and efficient complaints process, specific relevant training and maintain a zero tolerance culture towards harassment or sexist attitudes.'
NotTheJob are asking women to help the campaign by sharing their experiences of workplace sexual harassment, and they can do so anonymously through the website. By gathering a wide range of experiences from women working across all industries and sectors, #NotTheJob will have the evidence to urge the Government to make these crucial changes to the law.
Many women have already taken to twitter to support the campaign, sharing their own experiences and offering support to others.
Working for an ethical cosmetics company (the Big One that rhymes with Mush). Was told to hold products level with my breasts when trying to sell them to men, to draw their eyes down. I was sixteen and didn't know better, so I did. #NotTheJob https://t.co/38yfrLfFdz— Victoria Finan (@victoriafinan) October 25, 2018
When I was 18 & worked in a pub men said awful things to me ALL THE TIME. Examples inc. man in his 60s telling me to give him head & a man following me into the basement saying he wanted a snog. Both times my manager told me it was part of the job & I should flirt back #NotTheJob https://t.co/KJMuo2T370— Zoë McKendree (@ZoeMcKendree) October 25, 2018
Visit #NotTheJob for further information
If you are looking to speak to a counsellor about the impact of sexual harassment, you can find more information and therapists in your area on Counselling Directory