More than one in five people employed have experienced violence and harassment in the workplace, whether physical, psychological or sexual.
The figures are from the first-ever joint analysis of data worldwide carried out by the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), the independent global charity Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) and analytics and polling company, Gallup.
The analysis, Experiences of Violence and Harassment at Work: A Global First Survey, assessed the extent of the problem in the workplace and highlights the factors preventing people from talking about what they’ve gone through. These barriers include shame, guilt or a lack of trust in institutions, or because such unacceptable behaviours are deemed as "normal".
"It’s painful to learn that people face violence and harassment not just once but multiple times in their working lives," said Manuela Tomei, ILO Assistant Director-General for Governance, Rights and Dialogue.
The right to workplace peace
Psychological violence and harassment is the most prevalent form of violence and harassment globally. The hope is that the enormity of the task to tackle these issues has been noted and that the ILO Convention 190 will be implemented.
"ILO’s Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (or 190) and Recommendation (No. 206) are the first international labour standards to provide a common framework to prevent, remedy and eliminate violence and harassment in the world of work," stated the UN.
The convention sees the specific recognition of every person's right to working environment free from violence and harassment highlighted for the first time in international law.
"For too long, companies and organizations have been unaware or unwilling to tackle violence and harassment in the workplace," said Andrew Rzepa, a Partner at Gallup. "This dataset provides a baseline that we can all use to track much-needed progress on this vital safety issue."
Sarah Cumbers, Director of Evidence and Insight at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, said that it is critical to have good data in order to understand the extent of a problem.
"We are very glad to have been able to work with Gallup and the ILO to make this landmark contribution to filling these data gaps as part of our World Risk Poll, and to provide a benchmark for countries to make improvements, driven by the vitally important ratification of Convention 190."
Some of the recommendations offered by the report include regularly collecting robust data to prevent and manage violence and harassment, increasing awareness of the problem in the workplace, enhance institutions' capacity to prevent, remediate and support workers in this framework and to build people's trust in justice and ensure victims are supported.
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According to the statement released by the UN, the ILO-LRF-Gallup study was based on interviews conducted in 2021 with nearly 75,000 employed individuals aged 15 or older, in 121 countries and territories, as part of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll.