According to the latest research conducted by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), almost seven in 10 people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) are suffering from sexual harassment in the workplace.
The survey is believed to be the first major study into the harassment on LGBT workers in the UK.
Over 1,150 people were questioned by the TUC survey, which found that 68 per cent of employees had experienced sexual harassment, with 42 per cent stating they have had colleagues make unwanted comments about their sex life and 27 per cent had received unwanted sexual advances.
Two-thirds (66 per cent) said they did not tell their employer about the harassment, with a quarter of these said it was because they were afraid of being outed at work.
The research also revealed that women were more likely to experience unwanted touching than men, with more than 35 per cent reporting unwanted touching such as hands being placed on their lower back or knee and more than a fifth (21 per cent) reporting sexual assault including touching of the breasts, buttocks or genitals.
Shockingly, one in eight LGBT women said they had been seriously sexually assaulted or raped at work.
The TUC’s general secretary, Frances O‘Grady, said: “This research reveals a hidden epidemic. In 2019 LGBT people should be safe and supported at work, but instead, they’re experiencing shockingly high levels of sexual harassment and assault.
“Workplace culture needs to change. No one should think that a colleague being LGBT is an invitation for sexualised comments or inappropriate questions, let alone serious acts of assault.”
The TUC is now calling on the Government to introduce a statutory code of practice on sexual harassment and harassment at work and is encouraging anyone worried about sexual harassment at work to join a union.
“If you have experienced harassment in the workplace, then it is important that you seek specialist legal advice to discuss the options available to you.”