Sex pests in the workplace - Complaints law unsatisfactory

The Weinstein scandal has unleashed a tsunami of allegations about his, and many others, predatory sexual behaviour.

The latest twist in his unmasking is that he had a secret hitlist of almost 100 Hollywood individuals targeted to discover what they knew about misconduct claims against him and if they planned to go public with them it will re-energise what might be described as the celebrity wing of the scandal.

However, an intervention from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions calling for complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace to be covered by protected disclosure legislation shows how very pertinent these issues are in everyday life.

After all, there’s not much point in having a complaints procedure if availing of that protection exacerbates a difficult situation.

This is especially so as the balance in the relationship between employers and workers seems, in many instances, skewed.

ICTU points out that reports of sexual harassment are treated as “workplace grievances”, and under proposals, complainants would have stronger protection and reporting mechanisms.

Congress general secretary, Patricia King, described the proposed change as “a potential game changer and a major step forward for those suffering abuse”.

Weinstein’s rampages show how necessary these protections are if workers are not to be exposed to the double whammy of sexual harassment and bullying when they complain about that abuse.


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