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United Kingdom: NASUWT calls for statutory provisions on sexual harassment in schools

22% of LGBTI teachers report they have experienced sexual harassment in schools and that a majority of teachers do not feel that their workplace is a safe environment for LGBTI teachers.

Commenting on the Trade Union Congress report on LGBT workers’ experience of sexual harassment, Ms Chris Keates, General Secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), confirmed that 22% of LGBTI teachers report they have experienced sexual harassment in schools and that a majority of teachers do not feel that their workplace is a safe environment for LGBTI teachers. She called on school employers to take seriously their duty of care and stated that statutory provisions are urgently needed to require schools to record all incidents of sexual harassment and to have a policy in place to deal with such incidents.

Following on from this statement, in October 2019, NASUWT submitted a written response to the government Equalities Office consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace. The union reiterated the demand for a specific statutory preventative duty, coupled with robust statutory enforcement measures. It stated that the new duty should be underpinned by a new Equality and Human Rights Commission Code of Practice, outlining the reasonable steps an employer should take in order to prevent sexual harassment.