Nearly one in five Irish workers have experienced sexual harassment at work 7 months ago

Nearly one in five Irish workers have experienced sexual harassment at work

Inappropriate comments made at virtual meetings or in unsolicited texts and emails are common examples of virtual sexual harassment.

Almost one in five Irish workers have experienced sexual harassment at work, according to a new survey.

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The statistics come from recruitment firm Matrix Recruitment, who in August 2021 surveyed more than 1,100 adults in various industries, sectors and regions on a range of workplace issues.

Its results found that incidence of sexual harassment remains high in Irish workforces, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2019, 10% of Ireland’s workforce reported experiencing sexual harassment at work to Matrix Recruitment.

According to the firm, this jumped to 18% in 2020, while over the past year, despite hundreds of thousands of workers clocking on from home, 17% of workers say they are still experiencing sexual harassment at work.

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“Sexual harassment can take many forms and does not have to happen when you are in the physical presence of the offender," Matrix Recruitment's Joanne Foley said in a statement.

"Comments at virtual meetings or pictures shared of a sexual nature, unsolicited texts and emails are common examples of sexual harassment and should be reported to HR or management if you feel you have been perpetrated against."

In addition to sexual harassment, the 2021 Workplace Equality survey found that almost one in three employees (30%) have had to tolerate sexist jokes or comments in their place of work.

The findings also highlighted that 50% of adults believe that Ireland has an issue with racism in the workplace, up from 43% in 2020.

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Most respondents (60%) stated that ethnic minorities have fewer promotional opportunities than their colleagues, while almost all respondents (88%) said that employers have a responsibility to their staff to offer training on issues relating to equality and discrimination.

Meanwhile, the 2021 survey found that incidence of workplace discrimination has increased by almost 20% on last year.

Of those who experienced discrimination at work, pay discrimination is the most common form, identified by 42% of respondents, 85% of which were women.

A quarter surveyed (24%) said they knew of a colleague of the opposite sex with the same role and responsibilities who were being paid more than them.

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