Our 2021 Impact Report shows a rise in harassment – bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination – has jumped from 8% of our total Advice Line cases in 2020 to 14% in 2021.
Head of Advocacy and Advice, Bob Matheson said, “Year on year we are seeing a rise in harassment cases and since 2017 there has been a 100% increase in harassment cases as a proportion of new cases of our overall Advice Line cases.
“While it is troubling to see a rise in cases, this may indicate that workers are not prepared to put up with toxic workplace cultures and mistreatment. The #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter and a focus on non-disclosure agreements silencing those who speak up have all had an enormous impact. Issues that may previously have been treated as individual grievances are now being raised through whistleblowing channels, and this means employers have a chance to hear about – and address – wider cultural concerns.”
We are campaigning for the reform of UK whistleblowing law, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, with its campaign Let’s Fix UK Whistleblowing Law. We want to see a positive duty on employers to prevent victimisation of whistleblowers, along with tougher sanctions and penalties for those who mistreat workers for speaking up. Protect produced a report, Why we need a legal duty on employers explaining why we need legal standards on employers.
Protect runs training courses to help employers understand how to deal with whistleblowing about sexual harassment and misconduct. It is working on a project with some of its employer members to produce guidance on preventing victimisation of employees who raise concerns, which will be published in 2022.