More than one in five employed people, nearly 23 percent, have experienced workplace violence and harassment, whether physical, psychological or sexual, according to the first joint analysis of worldwide data by the International Organization Nations Organization of Labor (ILO), the independent global charity Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) and the Gallup polling and analysis company.
This first global survey on experiences of violence and harassment at work aims to provide better understanding and awareness of a problem rooted in complex economic, social and cultural factors, the ILO said in a press release published on Monday.
Experiences of violence and harassment at work: A first global survey assesses the extent of the problem and looks at factors that may prevent people from speaking up about what they have been through, including shame, guilt or a lack of trust in institutions, or because such unacceptable behaviors are seen as “normal.”
Violence and harassment at work are difficult to measure. The report found that only half of victims worldwide had disclosed their experiences to another person, and often only after repeated incidents.
The most common reasons given for non-disclosure were that it was considered a “waste of time”, leaving people who had suffered abuse fearing for their reputations. Women were more likely to share their experiences than men (60.7 percent compared to 50.1 percent).
Overall, 17.9 percent of employed men and women said they had experienced psychological violence and harassment at some point in their working lives, and 8.5 percent had experienced physical violence and harassment. More men than women report experiencing this.
Of those who responded, 6.3 percent reported having faced violence and sexual harassment, “with women particularly at risk,” the UN labor agency said.
Young people, migrant workers and salaried women and men have been the most exposed to violence, according to the data.
Young women were twice as likely as young men to have experienced sexual violence and harassment, while migrant women were almost twice as likely as non-migrants to report sexual violence and harassment.
More than three in five victims said they had experienced violence and harassment multiple times, and for the majority, the most recent incident took place in the last five years.
“It is painful to know that people face violence and harassment not just once, but several times in their working lives,” said Manuela Tomei, ILO Assistant Director-General for Governance, Rights and Dialogue.
“Psychological violence and harassment are the most frequent in all countries, and women are especially exposed to sexual violence and harassment. The report tells us about the enormous task ahead of us to end violence and harassment in the world of work. I hope it will accelerate action on the ground and towards the ratification and implementation of ILO Convention 190.”
The ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (or 190) and Recommendation (No. 206) are the first international labor standards to provide a common framework to prevent, remedy and eliminate violence and harassment in the workplace. world of work, including gender violence and harassment.
The Convention includes specific recognition, for the first time in international law, of the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, and outlines the obligations of signatories to this end.
“Collecting robust data on this sensitive topic is challenging but essential. For the first time, this report lifts the veil on this pervasive problem that affects more than one in five workers worldwide,” said Andrew Rzepa, a Gallup partner. “For too long, companies and organizations have been incapable or unwilling to address violence and harassment in the workplace,” he added. “This data set provides a baseline that we can all use to track much-needed progress on this vital security issue.”
Sarah Cumbers, Director of Evidence and Information at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, said that in order to address “such difficult and entrenched global security challenges as violence and harassment at work, it is essential to have good data to understand the scope of the problem and to identify those most at risk, especially in places where little reliable data may have previously existed.
“We are very pleased to have been able to work with Gallup and the ILO to make this historic contribution to fill these data gaps as part of our Global Risk Survey, and provide a benchmark for countries to make improvements, driven by the vital importance. ratification of Convention 190.”
Some of the recommendations the report offers include:
The regular collection of robust data on violence and harassment at work, at the national, regional and global levels, to inform laws and prevention and redress mechanisms, policies and programmes.
Expand and update mechanisms to effectively prevent and manage violence and harassment, including through labor inspection systems and occupational health and safety policies and programmes.
Raise awareness of violence and harassment at work, including its different manifestations, with a view to changing perceptions, stigmas, attitudes and behaviors that can perpetuate violence and harassment, particularly those based on discrimination.
Enhance the capacity of institutions at all levels to provide effective prevention, remediation and support, to build people’s trust in justice and ensure that victims receive support.
The ILO-LRF-Gallup study was based on interviews conducted in 2021 with nearly 75,000 employed people aged 15 and over, in 121 countries and territories, as part of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s global risk survey.