Missing the Christmas party to swerve unwanted sexual attention

The party is over for 1 in 10 employees planning to miss their Christmas party to swerve unwanted sexual attention.

In our recent survey, we spoke to 223 UK workers to uncover what lies beneath the baubles and Christmas jumper banter of the festive celebrations.

This latest research uncovered that 1 in 4 (23.3%) workers have received unwanted sexual attention at work. For 66.7% this attention was in-person only; for 25.5%, this was online and in-person; and for 7.8%, it was purely online. 

29% of respondents shared that they had a Christmas party coming up this month - and of this, 10.5% would not be attending due to fear of their harasser being there. A further 5.3% will be attending but are concerned that their harasser would be there. 

Silence is golden in the workplace, almost 60% chose not to tell their employer about the unwanted attention that they received, whereas 40% did. This is not hugely surprising, given that of those who did choose to tell their employer - 48.5% had their complaint ignored completely. 36.4% were punished for speaking up, and for 12.1%, their workplace ran an investigation but didn’t pursue anything after this. 

When asked how they were punished, 45.5% shared that they went on to be bullied, 27.3%% were sacked,  21.2% were moved to a different department, and 12.1% were demoted within their role. 

Something as innocent as attending a holiday party should not put someone at risk for more abuse, but that is the shocking reality for so many people in the UK today. It’s also shocking to see how many people who speak up are ignored or punished - this is not only not okay, it’s also potentially unlawful under victimisation law.

Resources and information on workplace harassment