One in 10 Report Sexual Harrassment

Sexual harassment is at dangerous levels in the workplace with a joint Reuters/Ipsos global poll finding one in 10 workers have been pestered for sex by a senior employer.

The survey of about 12,000 people in 24 countries found workers in India were the mostly likely to report sexual harassment with a report rate of 26 percent.

They were followed by workers in China with 18 percent reporting sexual harassment, Saudi Arabia 16 percent, Mexico 13 percent and South Africa 10 percent.

In Italy, nine percent of workers reported being sexually harassed at work, while in Brazil, Russia, South Korea and the United States a total of 8 percent of workers reported being pushed for sex by a senior.

The survey comes as experts warn that sexual harassment seems to be on the rise in the workplace with several high profile cases recently.

Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd resigned last week amid an investigation into claims of sexual harassment and Mark McInnes, former CEO of upmarket Australian retailer David Jones, quit in June after admitting “unbecoming behavior” to a female staff member.

“Where senior people have tried to have sex with employees because they work for them and not because they wanted a true relationship it’s not simply harassment, it’s exploitation,” said John Wright, a senior vice-president at market research company Ipsos.

The workers who were least likely to have felt sexually harassed in the workplace were from Sweden and France were only three percent of employees reported such incidents.

Only four percent of workers in Britain and Australia reported sexual harassment, five percent in Poland, Germany and Belgium, and six percent in Spain, Japan, Canada and Argentina. Seven percent of Hungarian workers reported sexual harassment.

Wright said the survey found workers aged under 35 were most likely to report feeling sexually harassed.

The poll also found that seven percent of employees have been intentionally physically assaulted out of anger by a co-worker or manager during their work day.

India again topped the table with 25 percent of Indian workers saying they had been assaulted at work. Sweden was once again at the bottom with only one percent reporting such an incident.

“A workplace culture that either condones or leaves unchecked any employee being slapped, punched, kicked or shoved by a co-worker or manager out of anger creates an atmosphere of productivity out of fear and intimidation — simply another form of exploitation,” said Wright.

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