Westminster branded a “toxic workplace” for sexual harassment and bullying
Parliament has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks, with multiple parliamentary staffers speaking publicly about their experiences of bullying and sexual harassment at their workplace.
Last month, BBC Panorama released their damning documentary entitled “Westminster’s Toxic Culture”. Over the course of a year, BBC Panorama spoke to dozens of people who said they’d been harassed in Parliament. One person stated: “Everyone who works at Westminster knows someone who has been sexually harassed or has been harassed themselves.”
Chris Bryant, the chair of the House of Commons standard committee, recently made revelations in his new book that he was sexually assaulted by fellow MPs on several occasions during his time in Parliament. We’ve also seen reports in the press over the past year of Senior MP Patrick Grady being suspended for making unwanted sexual advances towards a teenage party worker.
Parliamentary members are held to a high standard given the role they play in running the country, and yet bullying and harassment are rife. How has this been allowed to happen?
BBC Panorama has highlighted the failings of Parliament’s complaints process, the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme, as being a huge part of the problem.
Staff at Parliament who have complained about MPs’ conduct have said they were left feeling more traumatised by the complaints process than by the actual bullying. Others have been left feeling that the scheme was put in place more to protect the MPs than the victims themselves.
We at Bolt Burdon Kemp (BBK) understand the importance of victims being made to feel heard and believed.
The toxic workplace environment in Parliament is unacceptable and sadly, through our experience of representing our clients, we know that this is replicated at workplaces up and down the country.
If you have been a victim of sexual harassment, assault, or bullying at work, we encourage you to give us a call for a free and confidential conversation with one of our experts.
Harassment and abuse at work should not be tolerated, and we are here to listen and to help.