"I felt embarrassed, I felt humiliated, I felt disgusted, but I was very aware that there was very little I could do about it."
This sobering account comes from waitress Nilufer Guler. It is one of a number of quotations from the BBC ComRes Poll which surveyed 3000 men and women on their experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace. And it makes for uncomfortable reading.
40% of the women polled said they had experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace, with only a quarter of them reporting it. Amongst men, nearly 20% had experienced similar unwanted behaviour.
The hospitality sector is by no means alone: nursing, events and the health and leisure sectors were all mentioned in the survey, the largest of it's kind in the UK. The clear commonality amongst the participants, is that the majority worked in the flexible/ gig economy, where according to Nilufer "there's no avenue for [people] to speak out, no process of accountability."
Another participant, advertising campaign manager Honey Jamie suggests that "there is no training if you're experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace". This chimes with some of our experiences at Hop, and we always include scenarios which deal with harassment and unwanted behaviour in our workshops. The impact of this type of behaviour can be severe and long lasting, and it is our collectively responsibility to create a reporting structure that is open, robust and fair.