ICTU supports protests by Google employees concerning sexual harassment in the workplace

1 Nov 2018

Global protests by Google employees including Dublin against sexual harassment in the workplace has highlighted the need for Government action on the issue.

General Secretary of Congress Patricia King, who has pressed for amendments to current legislation concerning sexual harassment, said “such shameful behaviour pollutes the working environment and can have a devastating effect on the health, confidence and morale of those affected by it”.

The General Secretary said some workers are particularly vulnerable, particularly new entrants to the labour market, those with irregular or precarious employment contracts and workers in non-traditional jobs.

The Employment Equality Act 1998 defines sexual harassment as discrimination and as such is contrary to the law. But it stipulates that any infringement is regarded as a “grievance” and therefore a worker is obliged to submit any such complaint directly to an employer only.

Patricia King said that “in many cases workers suffer in silence as often the perpetrator can be a senior ranked person in the employment and a complaint could leave them out of a job”.

The General Secretary has previously requested the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD to amend legislation from “workplace grievance” to “protected disclosure” and overseen by the HSA or WRC.

 Finally, anyone worried about inappropriate behaviour at work should join a trade union to make sure they are protected and respected. “Sexual harassment is shameful behaviour that has no place in the modern workplaces and we all need to redouble our efforts to tackle the problem”, said Patricia King.

Note:Congress General Secretary Patricia King is available for comment.

Contact:Conor Kavanagh ICTU 0868116607

General Congress Contact: 01 8897777