Holyrood declares ‘zero tolerance’ approach to sexual harassment

Holyrood staff have been warned they face a "zero tolerance" crackdown on instances of sexual harassment under new rules published today.

The Scottish Parliament has unveiled a "zero tolerance" approach to harassment
The Scottish Parliament has unveiled a "zero tolerance" approach to harassment

Any looks, comments or jokes which overstep the mark will be met with a "prompt" disciplinary action, after a survey last year found many female staff encountered problems.
Scottish Parliament bosses have published their new policy to deal with Sexual Harassment and Sexist Behaviour alongside an independent support service.

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A list of definitions and examples were circulated to staff and MSPs of the kind of conduct which could land them in trouble.
This includes asking women about the impact of childcare - but not men - as this makes assumptions based on gender. Criticising men for showing emotion is also out, along with using different language to describe attributes based on gender such as saying a man is decisive but a woman is aggressive.

“We have committed to a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment and sexist behaviour in the Parliament," the policy states.

"Every person has the right to work in an environment that promotes respect, fairness, equality, and dignity and enables them to make their best contribution.

"Sexist behaviour and sexual harassment do not belong in the Parliament and we are committed to creating the shared understanding of appropriate behaviours, culture, and accountability mechanisms that will eradicate them."

The policy covers the Holyrood campus and MSPs' constituency and regional offices.

A confidential survey of Scottish Parliament staff last year found one in three women had experienced sexual harassment or sexist behaviour. And almost half (45%) said it came from MSPs.

Today's measures A confidential helpline with access to advice and support has launched with access to trained counsellors.